Cooperatives to play key role in nation’s economic development: Amit Shah

Central government will soon set up India’s first ‘cooperative university’ in a bid to organise the sector with specialised professional training for young talent, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday.

Reiterating the Centre’s plan, Shah, who also holds the portfolio of co-operation, said the aim of the BJP government is to revitalise the cooperative sector in India.

He was speaking at the second Laxmanrao Inamdar Memorial Lecture at Mumbai University’s Sir Cowasjee Jehanghier Convocation Hall on Saturday evening. Shah said that Inamdar, founder of Sahkar Bharati, played a pivotal role in encouraging and organising the cooperative movement which originally began in India in 1904. “But it was damaged due to political interference during the 1960s,” he said.

The memorial lecture, which was organised by Mumbai University in association with Sahkar Bharati, was also attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Governor Ramesh Bais along with a few other ministers from the state.

Praising the Central government on its strong stand on various issues, Shinde said, “I was in Kashmir recently. Laal Chowk area, which was considered a very dangerous spot, was celebrating Ganesh festivaI. This has been made possible because of the historic decision taken by Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to abolish Article 370.”

Speaking about the cooperative movement, Shah said, “Many believe that cooperatives have become irrelevant. But it is going to contribute to economic development of the country… By having a separate department for it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has revitalised the cooperative movement.”

Citing successful examples of cooperative movements such as Amul milk and Lijjat papad, Shah stressed that several big reputed brands are running on the cooperative model. The proposed cooperative university will be dedicated to create a professionally trained manpower to strengthen the cooperative sector, he added.

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Shah also highlighted the Modi-led government’s various schemes while sharing that 60crore new Indians are now looking at contributing to the mainstream economy of the country, with their basic necessities fulfilled. “These are people who did not have bank accounts before 2014. But with efforts of the Modi government they not only have bank accounts now but also have their basic necessities fulfilled such as house, electricity, toilets and even free ration per month.”

“If all these individuals have to be made part of the economic development, if women-led development has to be encouraged; cooperative is the only model which will allow each individual to begin with small investments and create big enterprises in their contribution toward country’s economy,” he said.

Further emphasizing the need for the cooperative sector to flourish, Shah said, “India needs mass production but at the same time production by masses is important to ensure employment. The government envisions to provide adequate skilled manpower through the university.”

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