The Bold Voice of J&K

Cooperative movement in J and K

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Tara Singh Bhall

More than 80 per cent of the population of our State is constituted of farmers and is engaged in different branches of agriculture. Unless efforts are initiated to organise and discipline this largebulk of our population, the socio-economic meansures will  not be translated into reality. The Government of India again has made no attempt to give encouragement to the cooperative movement and to bring production and marketing sector under cooperative coverage as possible. Never the less if does seem that yet we (J and K ) have  not reached a stage where the cooperatives are playing the role which they should play in the field of rural development.
The most commonly belief for the cooperatives is that there is too much ‘politics’ in the movement and in a democracy,  politics has a very definite meaning and role to play. It is neither possible nor desirable to think of economic development of state without considering its political consequences and in fact any programme of development is based on certain political ideals and objectives of movernment should be utilised to achieve the socio economic objective and goals of the political party in power. Such political involvement should ensure that the movement gets the necessary help from the government and that it is assigned the reasons and functions necessary for it to grow and help the society means farmer members in reaching the goals set up by people through their elected represetatives.
Majority of the population in the State involved in agriculture related sectors such as horticulture, animal and husbandry, poultry and dairy farming have ample employment avenues where educated youth of farmers can avail benefits of schemes lauched by the cooperative (SCARD Bank)  sector to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains, oil seeds, milk, butter, meat and chicken production in the entire State  and government of J and K should come forward and announce subsidy for educated youths  to set up their own units in these sectors under cooperative so that prices of daily consumption may come down.
The cooperative state level institution, the real farmers bank called as Jammu and Kashmir State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank Ltd. (JKSCARD) and (RDB). Bank is a non-resourceful bank at the mercy of NABARD. The SCARD Bank since 1962 till 2006 used to advance long term loan for purchase of tractor, thresher, installation of pump-sets, tubewell, establishment of dairy sheep, poultry, piggery units, for raising orcharg in the entire State but due to infighting or having no cooperative concept, no MOU for the last five years has been  signed by present government with NABARD  as Cooperative Minister and Registrar Cooperative Societies (2002-2008) were only interested to  implement the SRO 233 instead of strengthening in various areas of the  economy to uplift the farmers of the State. Jammu and Kashmir SCARD Bank (LDB) started  in response to the problems of rural indebtedness of farmers only in the late 19th century and has done a commendable work in J and K State. It is strange that farm cooperatives are facing decline at a time when their presence is most needed. This is a discriminatory attitude of State and Union Government towards farmers of the State on various issues and rural farmers in the entire State are facing financial crises. In rural areas, the poor farmers are always at the mercy of private money lenders and rates  of interest charged by them remain the cause of exploitation of the poor and needy farmers. In 1970-75  a joint mechanism (Jammu Cooperative Land Development Bank and Horticulture Department) to raise orchards in the entire State was started under the dynamic the then Agriculture/Cooperative Minister Tarlochan Dutt and today’s fruit revolution is due to that leader who increased the income of the rural farmers.
NABARD came into existence only to strengthen the agriculture cooperative sector in the rural areas but they diverted their activities/function towards development of roads and buildings ignoring the real job assigned to them by Government of India, Reserve Bank of India.
It must be borne in mind that the success of democratic popular movement like (Co-operation) is directly proportionate to the degree of awareness and sensitivity of the masses, their urge of morality, discipline and responsibility, for reform and ability to translate the plans, policies and programmes of development into action. For this purpose they must be suitable and properly educated in the purpose, principles, policies, programmes and techniques of co-operation. As a matter of fact one of the main reason for the slow and stunted growth of the cooperative movement in this State of J and K has been the absence of suitable measures for awaking the consciousness of the rural masses and efficient arrangements for their education for development of
organisation. To revive the movement in the State it is necessary that it be put in the charge of a person who is far sighted and visionary and who has an urge for uplifting the rural economy.

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