Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar favoured withdrawal of government control from the cooperative sector with a view to provide it more power in an opening economy.
“We want to withdraw government control from the cooperative sector and wish to give more control to the members of a separate general body. But I could not succeed in convincing my colleagues in Parliament to accord priority to this wish,” Pawar said.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of the national launch programme of core banking solution for the urban cooperative banks (UCBs) in Ahmedabad.
“The Constitutional amendment bill to this affect has been pending in Parliament for last four years,” Pawar said adding, the idea is to let the general body decide the fate of the cooperatives rather than those sitting in the mantralaya (secretariat).
“On one hand we are trying to open up economy, and on the other hand, we are trying to gain control on the cooperative sector. This is not advisable.”
According to Pawar, with 6,800 branches, cooperative banks have 4 per cent share in the country’s financial sector. Since they (UCBs) touch the life of common man, they are an important segment in the economy.
He termed the multi-crore Madhupura Mercantile Cooperative Bank scam in Gujarat, which came to light a few years ago, as a “black spot” on the cooperative sector.
“It is the responsibility of RBI to protect the interest of depositors,” the Minister said.