Nagaland’s Withering Cooperative Sector - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland’s Withering Cooperative Sector

By The Editorial Team Updated: Dec 12, 2023 11:40 pm

The revelation made during Cooperative Week observed last month, that approximately two-third of the Nagaland population remain uncovered by the sector, despite the existence of 8877 registered cooperative societies, would come as a surprise for many as it roughly translates to one organisation for 223 persons, as per the population (2011 census). But going by the disclosure made by the department officials earlier this year, that only about 35-40% of the registered cooperative societies in the state are active, the shortfall is on expected lines. This reflects poorly on the economic support system of the rural population and the marginalised sections of the society. As voluntary associations of people with common economic interests and for the welfare of the members, cooperative societies play a vital role in rural development, from shielding the members from possible exploitation to engaging in various rural-based sectors like agriculture, fishery, farming, agro-processing, etc., to providing loans for productive purposes and financial assistance under various schemes through government patronage, banking sector and other institutions. Considering the transformation it can bring to the rural population, including indirect employment generation, the government has been making efforts to strengthen the ecosystem of cooperative sector in the country by introducing policies and providing financial assistance over the years. While there are some iconic cooperative businesses like the dairy giant Amul and Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative in the country, the sector has been plagued by inefficiencies, thus limiting its reach.

As for Nagaland, the cooperative sector is visibly weak. It won’t be surprising if only a handful of organisations in the state are found to be productive. This is despite about 70 per cent of the state’s population being engaged in agriculture besides being faced with unemployment issue. And this means the state is not benefitting much from one of the most widely acknowledged organisations that is considered as a vital tool in boosting sustainable development and a driving force for economic growth among the weaker sections of society. What could be stopping the cooperative societies in the state from flourishing? There could be many reasons, including lack of leadership and management, and lack of knowledge about the benefits of such societies among the rural population. The trend of organisations and NGOs meeting with an abrupt end, not long after being floated, could also create mistrust among the people. These issues should be addressed to ensure that the rural population benefit from the sector. Meanwhile, the Central government had passed the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill 2023 in July this year, arguing that strengthening the cooperatives was necessary for India to become a 5-trillion-dollar economy. While it’s an encouraging move, over dependency on the government could prove counterproductive and weaken the cooperative movement.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Dec 12, 2023 11:40:36 pm
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