Title: Consideration and passing of the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Bill, 2000. (Bill passed)
MR. CHAIRMAN: Now, we go to item No. 11 – Multi-State Co-operative Societies Bill, 2000. The time allotted is three hours. Shri Ajit Singh.
"That the Bill to consolidate and amend the law relating to co-operative societies, with objects not confined to one State and serving the interests of members in more than one State, to facilitate the voluntary formation and democratic functioning of co-operatives as people’s institutions based on self-help and mutual aid and to enable them to promote their economic and social betterment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, be taken into consideration." The Multi-State Co-operative Societies Bill, 2000 is intended to replace the existing Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 1984. The ‘Co-operative Societies’ is a State subject under entry 32 of the State List. The States have accordingly enacted their own Acts. In order to facilitate the organisation and functioning of the co-operative societies having jurisdiction in more than one State, the Parliament enacted the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 1984 under entry 44 of the first List of the Constitution.
In view of the increasing demand from the co-operative sector and recognising the need for promoting democratic and autonomous functioning of the co-operatives, the Planning Commission appointed a Committee in 1990 under the Chairmanship of Ch. Brahm Perkash to examine the whole issue. The Committee submitted its Report in 1991 and, inter alia, recommended a ‘Model Co-operatives Law’ for the States aimed at providing a genuine character to the co-operatives with the deletion of restrictive provisions in the existing State Acts and to facilitate the building of an integrated co-operative structure. The Government of India in the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation constituted an Advisory Committee under Shri R.N. Mirdha to advise the Central Government on matters relating to ensuring autonomous functioning of the multi-state co-operatives.
Based on the recommendations of Ch. Brahm Perkash Committee and Mirdha Committee, a legislative proposal to replace the existing Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 1984 was formulated and accordingly the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Bill, 2000 was introduced in this august House in the winter session of the year 2000. The Hon’ble Speaker referred the Bill to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture for examination and the Committee has since submitted its Report.
The object of the Bill is to remove the so identified restricted provisions in the existing Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 1984 and to provide full functional autonomy and democratic management of the multi-state co-operative societies. As the hon. Members are aware, the process of co-operative reforms has been engaging the attention of the Government for quite sometime. There is a general view that co-operative institutions suffer from the undue Government interference and bureaucratic control. These institutions should in fact be member- driven institutions. With the passing of the Bill, a new era in the co-operative history will be ushered in which would enable them to function as real democratic and autonomous institutions for the mutual benefit of the members. The Bill will restore the faith of members in these institutions and will increase awareness amongst them. The co-operatives consist of the small and marginal farmers, the artisans, the workers and members of the weaker sections of the society. The new co-operative approach would enable these sections to improve their social and economic lot by availing the benefits of economy of scale. After the enactment of this new law, the State Governments will also be requested to amend their Acts on similar lines as most of the co-operative activities take place in the States.
(i) Preamble of the Act is proposed to be widened to reflect the policy of the Government based on the internationally recognised co-operative principles.
It is proposed to widen the preamble of the Act to reflect the policy of the Government towards the co-operatives. The basic co-operative principles as internationally recognised have been included in the first schedule.
(ii) Registration process is proposed to be simplified and made time-bound.
Procedure for registration of the co-operative societies has been simplified by reducing the time from six months to four months and by providing for deemed registration if the Central Registrar fails to register the societies or their byelaws within the stipulated period.
It is proposed to omit the provision of prior consultation or approval of the Central Registrar for amalgamation or division of a society.
Co-operative societies will be enabled to form subsidiaries. It is proposed to enable a society to form subsidiary institutions for furtherance of its stated objects which may be registered under any law for the time being in force.
It is proposed to give greater responsibilities to the federal co-operatives towards their affiliated members.
To ensure active participation in the management, provisions for disqualification of a member have been made on account of absence from the three consecutive General Body meetings or failure to use services to the minimum level as provided in the bye-laws of such society.
Besides disqualifications prescribed in the existing Act, the Bill proposes to add a new provision rendering a person disqualified to become President or Vice-President or Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson, if he holds office of a Minister in the Central or State Government.
It is proposed that the tenure of the elected members of the Board shall be such as prescribed in the bye-laws, but not exceeding five years instead of three years as in the existing Bill.
It is proposed that the elections shall be held by the society itself, failing which, the Central Registrar shall cause the conduct of elections at the cost of the society.
The Government nominees on the Board will be in proportion of shareholding, but not exceeding three or one-third of the total number of members of the Board, whichever is less.
The Government shall continue its role of promoting and assisting the co-operatives. On the request of a society, the Government shall continue to promote and assist the co-operative by way of share capital, loans and advances, guarantee and financial assistance in any other form including subsidies.
The societies will have full liberty to raise resources and utilise its surplus funds. It is proposed to enable a society to raise resources to augment its funds and to utilise its surplus funds in accordance with its bye-laws without approval of the Central Registrar.
The societies will have power to get the audit conducted on their own. It is proposed that the audit of the society shall be conducted by the auditor appointed by the society itself and not by the Central Registrar. However, in case of failure on the part of the society, the Central Registrar may appoint the auditor.
The powers of the Central Registrar for inquiry and inspection have been restricted. It is proposed that the Central Registrar shall invoke powers of inquiry and inspection only on an application of the federal society or a creditor or a complaint filed by at least one-fifth of the total number of members of the society and after a reasonable notice and opportunity to the management of the society.
It is proposed that the disputes of a society shall be settled by an arbitrator as per provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and not by the Central Registrar.
In order to make the management of a society accountable, it is proposed to widen the area of offences and stringent penalties.
It is proposed to restrict the powers of the Central Government to give directions or supersede the Board of Directors, to such societies only in which the Government holds not less than 51 per cent of the equity.
It is proposed to withdraw the powers of the Central Government to exempt a society from any of the provisions of the Act and Rules.
Now, I request the House to consider and pass this Bill.
MR. CHAIRMAN : Motion moved:
"That the Bill to consolidate and amend the law relating to co-operative societies, with objects not confined to one State and serving the interests of members in more than one State, to facilitate the voluntary formation and democratic functioning of co-operatives as people’s institutions based on self-help and mutual aid and to enable them to promote their economic and social betterment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, be taken into consideration. " MR. CHAIRMAN: Now, Shri Shivraj V. Patil.
As is rightly said, co-operative societies generally come under the authority of the State Governments but there are one or two references made to co-operatives that could come under the Union Government also. I am not going into all those things.
The Multi-State Co-operative Societies Bill, 2000 is before us and the positive provisions of this Bill have been explained very lucidly and convincingly by the hon. Minister. This Bill, as I said, is trying to replace the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 1984. The hon. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Shrimati Sonia Gandhi had written to the hon. Prime Minister asking that this Bill should be brought before Parliament and that the old legislation should be replaced by this Bill in the light of the recommendations made by the Brahma Prakash Committee; and we are happy that this Bill is before this House.
I would say that this is a welcome Bill. Many of the provisions are very salutary and they are going to help the co-operative movement in the country. So, we would like to welcome this Bill. I would first refer to the positive provisions then refer to the deficiencies in the Bill and later refer to the general policy and philosophy that could be adopted to encourage the co-operative movement in the country. After that, I shall refer to some of the changes that could be introduced in the Constitution to strengthen the co-operative movement.
I agree with the hon. Minister when he says that this Bill empowers the co-operative societies to amalgamate, to divide and to create subsidiaries without seeking the prior permission of the Central Registrar. This is a salutary provision and we welcome it. The second salutary provision is that without the prior approval of the Central Registrar, the co-operative societies can raise their resources. It is not necessary for the multi-state co-operative societies to obtain the permission of the Central Registrar to raise resources and to invest in shares. They can do it according to their decisions taken in the General Body or according to the decisions taken by the Society. This is also a salutary provision. In fact, these two provisions give greater autonomy to the co-operative societies. The first provision gives managerial autonomy and the second provision gives financial autonomy to the societies. What was sought to be done by replacing the old law with the new law was to give more autonomy to the societies and this has been achieved to a very great extent by having these two provisions.
The third most important provision according to me is that Ministers are not allowed to be Chairpersons of Multi-State Co-operative Societies. To our surprise, in some States, we have found that there are co-operative societies that have Ministers as Chairpersons and when the question came up whether they should give up their positions as Chairmen in the societies or their Ministerships, they preferred to give up their Ministerships rather than the Chairmanship of the societies. This means, if they could be Ministers and also be Chairpersons of these co-operative societies, the authority available to the Chairperson is likely to be misused. That possibility has been done away with by specifically providing that Chairpersons should not be Ministers in the State Governments or in the Union Government. In our Standing Committees also, we have seen that the Chairpersons are not Ministers.
They are the Members of Parliament and not the Ministers. Now, the same principle has been accepted and it is a good principle.
15.16 hrs (Shri Devendra Prasad Yadav in the Chair)
The fourth salutary principle is that sometimes it is found that the people who are working in the societies, they do not manage the societies in a proper manner and in order to retain the societies with them, they go to the court and the disputes are kept pending in the court and no solutions are found to the disputes for a pretty long time and that makes the shareholders to suffer. This Bill is trying to avoid this kind of contingency. This Bill provides very rightly a Disputes-Settlement Authority and, I think, this is also a very salutary provision. The only one objection with respect to the Disputes Settlement Authority I have is that it provides that the disputes shall be settled in three months’ time. I doubt whether the disputes would be settled in three months’ time. Practically, it is not possible. Even then, if it is provided, then again there is a proviso to that Bill which says that for any reason it is not possible for the Disputes Settlement Authority to settle the disputes within three months’ time, then they can give the reasons for not having been able to settle the disputes in three months’ time and they can settle the disputes in some more time. I think, this provision is little unrealistic. Something has to be done to see that this provision is actually implemented or enforced. One of the methods by which this can be done is to have many Disputes Settlement Authorities available in the country. It is provided in the law that there would not be only one Disputes Settlement Authority, but in different regions, there would be more Disputes Settlement Authorities. If we have Disputes Settlement Authorities in different States and later on in different districts also, if possible, it may be possible to see that these disputes are settled within the given time.
The last provision to which I would like to make a reference is this. Ultimately, these societies have to help the people. The hon. Minister has rightly said that the cooperative societies help the people coming from the rural areas. The people who do not have big resources with them, who are not in a position to start the private sector enterprises, who are also not in a position to get the finances from the financial institutions or the banks; and with the small amount of money which are available with them, they contribute to the funds of the societies and that fund is used for the benefit of the people. At times it is found that these funds are not used for the benefit of the shareholders. Sometimes, there are mistakes committed and these societies disappear and the funds kept by them in the society disappear. That is why, it becomes the responsibility of the State Government or the Union Government to protect the interests of the shareholders in the cooperative societies, as they have to protect the interests of the depositors in the banks or the shareholders in other institutions. This Bill rightly provides that the Government of India is given the authority to give the directions to the societies to see that the funds they have are used in such a fashion that the interest of the common man are protected. I am satisfied with that.
Madam, now, I come to the deficiencies. What are the deficiencies? I know that the Bill is introduced and we would like that it should be passed with amendment or without amendments. But as far as deficiencies to which I am making references should be borne in mind for future to make the amendments, if possible and if necessary, to see that this law becomes more efficient and more useful. This Bill provides that in one State there shall be only one Multi-State Cooperative Society.
If it is not, then I withdraw my comments, but if you are restricting the number of multi-State co-operative societies’ registration in one State, I think that would not be helpful. Why should we put a restriction on that? If it is not there, if I have read the law wrongly, I withdraw my comments, but if it is there, I would beseech that that kind of a provision should be done away with and we should allow more multi-State co-operative societies to come up in different States. If there are two multi-State co-operative societies or more multi-State co-operative societies, it should be welcome, rather than it should be restricted.
I am not having a very strong doubt about it, but then some people have been saying that the law provides that the distribution of the surpluses has to be done in a particular manner. I know the intention with which it is done - to protect the interests of the shareholders, to protect the interests of the workers, to protect the interests of the modernisation of the societies, and things like that. I have absolutely no objection to that. But if this provision is used too strictly, it is likely to create problems. So, it has to be used in a very very discreet manner, in a manner which really helps it. Now, the question of using this authority in a proper manner arises. I do not quarrel with the provision but I quarrel with the discretion which can be used in using this provision.
The third point I would like to make is that we have accepted the principle of allowing women to participate in Gram Panchayats, in municipalities, in Taluka Panchayats, in Zila Panchayats. There is Bill pending in the Parliament to have the representation given to women in the State Legislatures and in the Parliament. But at least at the district level, at the Taluka level, at the municipalities level and at the village Panchayat level, this has been done. That means, in political democracy we have allowed the participation of women. Why should it not be allowed in economic democracy also? Why is this provision not made in this law? Some State Governments have a provision of this kind. If I am not wrong, I would like to say that this kind of provision is there in Madhya Pradesh Act and in Maharasthra Act also.
SHRI SHIVRAJ V. PATIL : If this kind of provision is there in a State law, this law it should be there in the Union Law also. This should not be a retrograde law; it should be something better than the law which is available in the States. So, my request is that participation of women in the co-operative movement, in the economic activities of the country, specially of women coming from the rural areas, from the poorer sections of the societies, should be facilitated. This point should not have been lost sight of while framing this Bill. This is a very glaring deficiency according to me which becomes visible to me.
The second deficiency which has become visible to me is that in the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act and in the Madhya Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes are given a recognition. The laws provide that in the Board of Directors, there shall be a representative of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. If the shareholders elect them to the Board of Directors, all right, but if there is no Director in the Board, then there should be a provision for nominating persons coming from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes so that they are in a position to protect the interests of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes through the co-operative society. What is found in these co-operative societies is that those people who have money are the members. They do not have lot of money with them. They have limited funds with them. Yet, there are people who do not have money at all and they are very very poor. Such people should be helped more. And in order to help more through the co-operative societies, it should be possible for somebody to be there in the Board while the decisions are taken to see that the help can be extended to the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in order to protect their interests.
सभापति महोदय : ब्रहमानन्द मंडल जी, आप अपना आसन ग्रहण कीजिए।
SHRI SHIVRAJ V. PATIL : would I request the hon. Member that when he makes his speech he may make that point. I am making two points. I should leave something for others also.
I think that this should have been there. I am of the view that the Multi-StateCooperative Societies Bill will be used to help the cooperative banks which function in more than one State. It is likely to help the cooperative insurance societies also which will be working in more than one State. I think we should welcome this kind of provision for the Multi-Statecooperative banks. We have the uni-State cooperative banks. I think we do not have the Multi-State cooperative Banks and with this, there would be Multi-State cooperative banks. Insurance is open to the private sector. If it is available to the individuals, if it is available to the private sector, then it should be available to the cooperative sector also.
I repeat it more than once that this should be there. There should be Multi-State cooperative banks and there should be Multi-State cooperative insurance societies. At the same time I would like to caution the Government. What has happened to the cooperative banks? It is only today that one of the hon. Members on the floor of the House shed light on what has happened to some cooperative banks. When we allow the common man to be the member of a bank and run the bank, we should not allow the Board of Directors to run the bank in such a fashion that the depositors are put to difficulties.
We know what has happened to the UTI. We know what has happened to a few cooperative banks. We know what has happened in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and in other States. That is why I would like to caution that something has to be done to see that the interest of the depositors in the cooperative banks is protected. It should not be difficult to do it. If you use all the modern gadgets which are available like the computers and others and if every day the supervision is done in a proper manner by somebody who is given this responsibility and if every week the supervision is done by the Board, then it should not be difficult. It should be allowed, but it should be allowed in such a fashion that the poor people who keep money in the banks will not be lost to their savings. The cooperative insurance societies are more dangerous to manage than the cooperative banks because the people from the rural areas will ensure themselves, their properties. Supposing these societies disappear or these societies are not in a position to really protect the right and the property of the people, the poor will suffer.
In the present circumstances, on the one hand we would have to see that lot of freedom is available to those who want to come forward and who want to be very active in the economic field; but at the same time we shall have to see that those who are living hand to mouth and saving money and using that money or putting that money in these financial institutions are also protected. We cannot say that in order to see that there should be a speedy growth, let the people who have earned their money suffer. We cannot take that stand and if we take that stand, it will not be economic justice. Ultimately, it will not be accepted by the people.
So, I am cautioning that in the cooperative banks and in the cooperative insurance societies, the byelaws have to be such that the interests of the people will be protected. Of course, the law is made by the Parliament, the rules will be made by the Executive, the Government and the rules will be put on the Table, of the Houses. Even in the rules we can take those precautions. More than in the rules, we can take precaution in the byelaws. The byelaws of the cooperative banks and the byelaws of the cooperative insurance societies have to be such that the interest of the common man is protected.
The third most important activity which can be started by the Multi-State Co-operative Societies, is to export the agricultural produce to the neighbouring countries. This is an area which is vacant. It remains unoccupied. The private sector is not playing its role; the Government sector is also not playing its role; and the public sector is not playing its role. This is an area which is really vacant and this can be occupied by the Multi-State Co-operative Societies. I would like to say that they should not be uni-State co-operative societies; they should not only be multi-State co-operative societies, but they should be multinational co-operative societies. They should be in a position to function in other countries also that has to be done, and are very important
The Government of India has taken a decision to see that the surplus which is available from the agriculture is exported to other countries. Simply by making a declaration of this nature, it may not be possible for us to export the surplus, which is available, to the other countries. So, what has to be done? The small farmers have to produce the vegetables, the flowers, the fruits, the grains, the pulses, the oilseeds, and the surplus, which is available with them, has to be collected by somebody. It has to be transported from the field to the cold-storages, from the cold-storages to the airport and sea port, and from the sea port, these things have to be transported to the foreign countries by using ships, aircraft or other means of transport. They have to sell these things in other countries and then get the money and return it to the farmers. This cannot be easily done by a small farmer who is living in the village. It would be very difficult for him. He does not have the funds. He does not have the knowledge. He does not have the confidence in himself to do it, but he has seen as to how the sugar factories have developed, as to how the spinning mills have developed and as to how banks have worked. He would have confidence in these kinds of co-operative societies and if these kinds of co-operative societies are brought into existence, I think, the vacancy, which is available, will be filled by these co-operative societies and one of the objectives of giving remunerative prices, good prices will be fulfilled by exporting these things.
But here, a lot many things have to be done. It is not enough to have a law of this kind and then, have done with it. The Agriculture Ministry has to look into it; the Ministry dealing with foreign trade has to look into it; the Ministry of Shipping has to look into it; and the Ministry of Civil Aviation has to look into it. The financial institutions have to provide the finances. The EXIM Bank has to give the credit and for this purpose, we had made the plans and programmes. Those plans and programmes were made as back as in 1983 and they are lying in the Government in the Ministry of Finance. They can be looked into and, if possible and if they are found feasible in the present circumstances, they should be used. According to me, some of these are the drawbacks with which they are suffering.
The penultimate point I would like to make is that the co-operative movement is the movement of the common man. It is not the movement of the rich man. It is not the movement of a Government. It is the movement of the common man, and if really the common man is to be economically helped and assisted, the co-operative movement should develop. Fortunately for us, in some States like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the co-operative movement has struck roots, but in other States, the co-operative movement has not struck roots. It is not feasible there and people pine for it, they ask for it, and we shall have to do something to see that the co-operative movement is started there. But if we analyse the co-operative movement even in the States where it appears to be doing well, we shall have to classify as to how the co-operative movement has done.
As far as village co-operative movement is concerned, this is doing well. As far as spinning mills and oil mills are concerned, they are not doing well. As far as sugar industry is concerned, 60 per cent of the industry is doing well and 40 per cent of the industry is not doing well. As far as banks are concerned, they have done well so far, but now it appears that even the banks are slipping in their performance and they are becoming a liability.
We shall have to do something to see that this does not happen. Why this is happening, it has to be understood by us. In my opinion, this is happening because initially, those who were in the movement were ideologically one with the cooperative movement. They were mad after the cooperative movement. They did not pay attention to anything else; they paid attention to cooperative movement, and the cooperative movement, in some States, was accepted. I have seen the persons sitting at the site where the sugar factory was coming us without taking food, without sleeping and working there; they brought those sugar factories into existence and they are doing very well.
The second phase was, that of the people who came in this movement who were supposed to be efficient, capable of running these institutions. It was also good. One cannot have any objection to it.
We are now in the third phase in which people are coming in this movement because they think there is money. People are coming because they think that they would be able to earn some money out of this movement, and they do not have good of the people at their heart, nor are they efficient. However, they are manipulators. They get elected, come there and manipulate. When they manipulate, their only intention is, to feather their nests, and then leave it saying that because of this reason or that reason, the cooperative society has not done well. We shall have to see that this does not happen. It is not a very easy thing to do. It is a very difficult thing to do and, yet, it has to be done.
What the law provides is that if there are people of this nature, then there would be a registrar and his colleagues to see that this does not happen; and registrar and his colleagues did work to see that this kind of thing did not happen. But I know the persons, we have personal knowledge, that the registrars and the officers also have not done well. They have created hurdles. They have not stopped the embezzlement of the money from the cooperative societies, but they have become partners in embezzling the money from the cooperative societies. So, when there was one person, it was suffering. Now, there are two persons, it is likely to suffer more so. So, the registrars and officers also, in some cases, have helped; in some cases, they have not helped.
The third is that these cooperative societies, big cooperative societies at that, have become a tool in the hands of political bosses. They are used not for creating the educational institutions, the hospitals, and the cultural institutions, but they are used for political purposes, for collecting money. They are collecting the money not only to get the people elected, but also to get the people defeated. Now, this is happening.
So, you have the co-operators, the officers and the Government machinery which are contributing towards the failure of this movement. It is in the interest of this movement that something has to be done to see that this does not happen. I am not sure whether you have any panacea for this, whether you have anything which you can really, totally and fully accept. Now, what has to be done is to see that there is a balance between the authority available to the co-operators, to the registrars and to the Government.
One of the things you have done is to see that the Ministers do not become the Chairpersons. It, by itself, is not going to root out the embezzlement and the corruption and, yet, it will certainly help. In this fashion, the process of thinking has to go on in this direction. It has to be done not only because the cooperative movement should be there, but because this cooperative movement helps the man at the lowest rung of the society economically. That is why, this has to be done. This is a very difficult task. I do not know how this task can be performed by the Government and, yet, if the thinking is started, if the inputs are given by those who are there, it can be done.
The last point which I am making is that the Seventy-third and the Seventy-fourth Constitution Amendments are the most important Amendments which have been introduced in the Constitution.
They have strengthened the district talukas and the village bodies. They have not only given them financial powers but also have given them the authority to function without any restrictions from the State Governments. These amendments have been very useful for decentralisation of political power and to make the Panchayati Raj Institutions stronger. The Panchayati Raj Institutions are one of the most important elements for providing political democracy. In the same fashion, the co-operatives are one of the most important instruments that could be used to provide economic democracy to the people of our country. What I am trying to suggest is that in the Directive Principles of State Policy only one sentence has been used. It says that the cottage industry shall be organised on individual and co-operative basis. There is only one sentence for it. Why not you have one separate article in the Directive Principles of State Policy dedicated to the Co-operative movement saying that co-operative movement is an important movement right from the village to the talukas to even the international level? Why not have something very elaborately provided for in the Constitution and under that, laws could be made by both the Union as well as the State Governments? We have Chapters IX and IXA which provides for the Panchayatsand the municipalities. In the same fashion if we have a separate chapter relating to the activities of the co-operatives, then, I think, we would have done something very basic and something so very important that economic democracy could be made available to the people.
Sir, I am leaving this idea with the hon. Minister for his consideration. I do not expect that suddenly something will happen. But this is only a direction in which the thinking has to be there if we want to give economic democracy to the people. Political democracy alone is not sufficient. We shall also have to give economic as well as social democracy to the people. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, while presenting the Constitution to the Constituent Assembly said in his final speech that political democracy is not sufficient, economic democracy should be there and there should also be social democracy. If we do not have a provision for this in our Constitution, then it would be very amorphous and would be very difficult for us to move in that direction. I am leaving this idea with the hon. Minister and the Parliament for their consideration.
Sir, first of all I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister for having brought forward this very important Bill. This has, in fact, been a long demand of the people from the co-operative sector. This Bill seeks to provide almost full autonomy to the co-operative sector in which the Government has a minority equity holding. The interference of the Government, by way of the Registrars, was so much that the co-operative sector was not in a position to function as an autonomous body that it should. This Bill seeks to provide autonomy to this sector. I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister for having brought forward this Bill.
Sir, this Bill also seeks to drastically slash the role of the Registrar of Co-operatives who, at present, enjoy virtually dictatorial powers. The provisions as contained in this Bill will not bar a person from holding office in more than one society simultaneously. At present if somebody is a member of one society he cannot be a member of another society. Under the provision, in this Bill, now, a person would have the freedom to be a member of two societies and there would also be no limit on the number of times a person can serve as an office bearer.
Sir, presently the co-operatives are treated as an appendage to the Government like the Public Sector Undertakings. Many social obligations of the Government have been passed on to the co-operatives without realising that the co-operatives are essentially business organisations set up with the motive of earning profits for their members. They can earn profits and utilise them for the betterment of their members.
Cooperatives are enjoined by their philosophy to be socially responsible but they are not social service organisations. At the moment, there are more than about 5,04,000 cooperative societies in the country. Their membership is more than 20 crores. The capital involved in them runs into crores and crores of rupees. Under the control of the Government, these cooperatives are not in a position to exercise their powers, as they should. They are not able to do their work in a professional manner. Therefore, this autonomy is being given and it is a very welcome step.
The first obligation of cooperatives is to serve the interests of their members. Therefore, there is a dire need for the cooperatives to be truly democratic and professionally-run bodies capable of competing in the open market. Those who are unable to do so have no right to exist. This Bill seeks to provide functional autonomy and democratic management to the Multi-State Cooperatives.
For settlement of disputes, the present Dispute Settlement Machinery is not as effective as it should be. This Bill also provides for a mechanism for settlement of disputes. It is proposed to be a quasi-judicial authority namely, Cooperative Disputes-Settlement Authority. This would replace the existing system of settlement of disputes by the Central Registrar. It is envisaged that by this, settlement of disputes would be quicker and more judicious.
A Minister of State or a Central Minister will not hold office of the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson. Adequate provision has been made in the Bill for filing a complaint by a member, for prosecution of offences. This provides for access to information. It also provides disqualification of membership on account of non-attendance of three-consecutive General Body Meetings.
I heartily congratulate the hon. Minister for bringing this much-needed Bill. When the provisions of this Bill come into effect, interests of the cooperative sector in the country on the whole will be taken care of. Therefore, I support this Bill.
SHRI MOINUL HASSAN (MURSHIDABAD): Respected Chairman, Sir, I would like to support this Bill, which is brought by hon. Agriculture Minister Shri Ajit Singh. It is a long-pending demand of the cooperative sector of the country. It is the need of the time.
At the time of introduction of the Bill, the hon. Minister has stated the perspective of the Bill. The original Act, the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 1984, extended to the whole of the country including Jammu and Kashmir. What was the aim of that Act? It was to fulfil the objective of bringing uniformity in regard to administration and management of multi-State cooperatives, and bringing them under a single cooperative law.
However, I feel that one aspect was not discussed at that time. How to ensure that they function like a autonomous and democratic organisations was not properly discussed at the time of enacting the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 1984. That is why it is stated in the Statement of Objects and Reasons, to remove the lacuna of 1984.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, para 3 of the Statement of Objects and Reasons says:
"The object of this Bill is to provide the restrictive provisions in the existing Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 1984 in order to provide functional autonomy and democratic management of multi-State co-operative societies." For this reason, I would like to support this Bill today.
What is the intention, so far as the co-operative is concerned today? I suppose that there are three points which are very much relevant with cooperative movements, namely, (1), to ensure the atmosphere of democratic and autonomous working of the co-operative; (2), to have structural reforms related to the co-operative sector in the context of changing economic scenario of the country; and (3), to have provisions of appropriate and adequate policy support to the co-operative movement in the country. I suppose that this is the prime need of the co-operative sector today.
Sir, I would like to refer to the performance of the co-operatives briefly in our social and economic life. I do not know whether everybody knows it or not but it is a fact that 100 per cent villages of our country is covered by the co-operatives; 67 per cent of the household is covered by the co-operatives; 230 millions are the Members of the co-operatives; and the amount of primary agricultural co-operative societies is nearly Rs. 1,30,347. At all levels, the number of co-operatives is 5, 28,249.
So, in the national economy what is the role of co-operatives? The co-operatives play a very important role in our nation-building. In our total agriculture, the credit of the co-operatives is nearly 50 per cent, namely, 49.3 per cent, fertiliser distribution contributes 35.2 per cent; fertiliser production contributes 23.5 per cent and sugar production contributes nearly 60 per cent, namely, 59.73 per cent. So, for the animal feed, milk procurement and market, the co-operatives have done a commendable job throughout the country.
In this situation, Sir, I would like to submit that the entire co-operative sector is facing some genuine problems also. One such problem is lack of democratic environment in the co-operative system. Many a time, it is a Government sponsored co-operative. Many a time, the co-operative is managed by the vested interests. We are talking about people co-operatives where people are the deciding factor. We are talking about universal membership, mass membership in the co-operatives. So far as the universal membership is concerned, whether a common man is a member, we have nothing to do with it. We are saying that the Government has a greater role to play to achieve the democratic system of cooperative. But in the Government provisions, many a time, there is restriction to flourish the co-operative system in the name of Act, rules, registration and so on. In the name of register, in the name of Secretary, there are many restriction also.
So, my conclusion is that we should provide highest possible democratic norms and provisions to the co-operative sector.
Sir, here, I would like to read out from para 6 of the Statement of Objects and Reasons. The hon. Minister also stated that. Our hon. colleague Shri Shivraj V. Patil also stated that, and I support the attitude of this Bill. Para 6 says:
"In order to ensure minimum control by the Central or State Governments in the management of Multi-State Co-operative Societies and to depoliticise their management," it has been proposed in the Bill that, "a Minister in the Central Government or State Government shall not be eligible to hold office of the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson in such societies… " I support it.
Sir, I have a knowledge that one Deputy Chief Minister was the Chairman of one State Co-operative Bank. I suppose that it is not correct.
I second this proposal made by the hon. Minister which stated in the para (6).
But I would like to say that this is not sufficient. The State Governments should, in this respect, amend their respective provisions in the spirit of democratic character and self-reliance.
Second problem that is facing the cooperative sector is about human resource development. Human resource development is very much needed for the success of not only the cooperative sector, but also it is needed for the success of any organisation today. So, human resource development is very much required today, in cooperative sector but the cooperative sector is lacking in this field. So, I propose to the hon. Minister that NABARD should find out a solution and provide proper guidelines to the cooperative sector.
My third point is regarding professionalisation. The cooperative banks should work as a professional one to overcome the problem amicably. But how will we overcome this? NABARD has told that they would provide professional personality in cooperatives Boards. I feel that it is very much undemocratic and it will be democratic, only if the Board has the right to select its own person. So, I firmly believe that it is very much necessary that the cooperative sector meets the need of the time.
Another problem that is facing is the duality of control. When we are working in the lower level in the cooperatives, we feel who will control the cooperatives? Will the Government of India control? Will the State Governments control? Will the RBI or NABARD or the apex federation control? So, I feel that it is very much necessary to regulate the system. We should resolve it and the RBI should do it. I suggest to the hon. Minister to find out a mechanism to remove the duality of control from the present system.
At the time of the hon. Minister’s speech, he took the name of Chowdhary Brahm Prakash. Shri Shivraj Patil also told us something. When he took the name of Chowdhary Brahm Prakash, he has made a suggestion to the Government and a model act. The Minister took the name of Shri Ram Niwas Mirdha also. I had the opportunity to meet these two personalities. I would like to say that there is some lacuna in the present Bill in respect of model act. There is also a provision in the Bill which was not there in the model Act of Chowdhary Brahm Prakash. There is ample scope in the Bill by which the democratic right may be curbed.
Here, I would like to mention three points, which are on co-option in the Board, the nominee from the Government and supersession. In the model Act, there is no provision for these three. The Government has provided them in Section 141 and others. I would request the hon. Minister to look into the matter and ensure that the democratic right is not curbed and to ensure that the democratically formed Board is not superseded.
I will take a few minutes to speak about financial sector and I will mention only two points. The first point is about the support to re-capitalise cooperative credit and banking institutions. At the time of the Budget proposals, our hon. Finance Minister has proposed a token amount of Rs.100 crore for cleansing the balance sheet of the cooperatives. Hon. Agriculture Minister knows it better. Throughout the country, the main demand of the cooperative sector is to cleanse the balance sheets. I suppose that it is not the question of State subject or the Central subject; we should do something for the cooperatives.
16.00 hrs (Dr. Laxminarayan Pandeya in the Chair)
The Finance Minister has provided token Rs.100 crore and I would suggest him to provide sufficient fund, as given to others, to recapitalise cooperative credit and banking institutions.
My second point is about the general limit of credit. After 18 years from Rs.1200 crore, it has come to only Rs.5700 crore. I propose that it should be Rs.10,000 crore. The expectation of this Government is, that there is 25 per cent growth in lending for agricultural purposes. How to achieve it if GLC is not enhanced? So, I would request the Minister of Agriculture to do this.
The common man should take entry into the cooperative sector. In West Bengal, there is a provision of universal membership. The Government of West Bengal has provided 50 per cent of the membership fee. Under this system, lakhs of common people, like the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and the OBC take entry into the cooperative sector. Shri Shivraj Patil has made a good proposal and I second it. There should be a provision to see how the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the OBCs and women also can participate in the Board of the cooperative sector. I suppose it is the demand of the time.
I will not take any further time and will only quote our founder Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. He said:
"Cooperation is not Government-controlled. If there is any Government control, good or bad, it is not cooperation at all, whatever else it may be. "
Sir, the cooperative movement is the movement of very common persons. If we were to define this movement, we can define it as ‘one for all and all for one’. In short, we can define it by saying that self-help is made effective by this organisation. That is why I say that every amendment should be in the interest of the common people. I will go section-by-section.
"A person using services below minimum level or not attending three consecutive Annual General Meetings will not be eligible for being a member. "It is vague. In the Bill, it has not been made clear as to what is the minimum level of service. Sometimes, a member may be opposing for a valid reason but in the name of this minimum level his membership may be seized just because he is opposing. That is why, a clear definition of this minimum level of service should be there.
Secondly, if he does not attend three consecutive Annual General Meetings, his membership is seized. My experience of Maharashtra is, every agenda of the General Body says that if quorum is not there, after one hour the meeting will go on and it can transact the business. It has no adverse effect on the cooperative movement. Ultimately, he is a common person. He is the founder member of the society. It may be a bank, sugar factory, spinning mill, credit society or a milk-producing society. The common persons are the members of these societies. The controversial point is in Section 38 which says:
"A smaller body shall exercise the powers of the General Body. " A small body of the General Body could not be there. General Body means the General Body. This is the controversy in the Bill. Section 50 of the Bill says:
"The Board meeting to be held at least once in a quarter and in the absence of the Chairman, the Board can choose some one to preside over the meeting. " The common members are electing the Directors. Directors are electing their Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen. If the Chairman is not there, automatically the Vice-Chairman will preside over the meeting and conduct the business. It is not necessary to choose any one to preside over the meeting. Secondly, with regard to the meeting to be held at least once in a quarter, I would like to take the example of a financial institution like the Cooperative Bank. If I am in need of money and I have applied for loan, if this provision is there, then at least for three months I will not get the loan. That is why, today there is a provision that at least once in a month the Board should meet. Otherwise, it will adversely affect the interest of the people. For the financial institutions, this amendment should not apply and for them the provision should be that at least once in a month the Board should meet.
"Transfer not less than 10 per cent of profit to Reserve Fund for meeting the unforeseen losses. " Already there is a provision of transferring 25 per cent of the Provident Fund for this purpose. Providing additional 10 per cent will affect the working of the institutions. This is an unnecessary provision. Contributing 25 per cent is compulsory but why have 10 per cent more?
"Societies can issue non-convertible debentures up to 25 per cent paid up share capital. " My suggestion is that instead of share capital on own fund, they can provide more money for the debenture purpose.
"Societies may establish contributory Provident Fund for the benefit of the employees. " It is a good provision.
But simultaneously, the same provision should be applied for gratuity of the employees. Section 78 will adversely affect the financial institution, that is why, it should be suitably amended. That is my suggestion. There is a provision for Co-operative Disputes Settlement Authority. Sir, the appointment to the Authority should be made from the judiciary so that each High Court is authorised.
Now, I come to Sections 112 and 114. There should be a provision to empower bank officers with the power of Central Registrar for attachment and adjudication of the decree so as to save time and cost. That is my suggestion. There is a provision for inspection of the books of accounts by any member. There is always internal audit in financial institutions. The Government audit is also there and then the Reserve Bank inspection is also there. So, dual control is there. On the one side, for the proper implementation of the Societies Act in the State, there is a control of the Department of Co-operatives and for banking regulations, there is Reserve Bank of India. When there is audit, there is annual report, there is General Body, why should there be individual member inspection? I think, it will affect the secrecy of the bank. That is why, it is also not proper, at least, for financial institutions like banks. Section 128 says that Minutes of the meeting shall not be attached to any books by pasting. If proper Minutes of a meeting are not ready in time, then the pasting is done. Afterwards the minutes are written and pasted on the register. I do not know what is harm in it. It is a suitable method. Then, inspection and other things are also there.
A very important point has been suggested by hon. Shri Shivraj Patil. In Societies Act, a provision for the participation of women, weaker sections, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is always there. It is there, at least, in Maharashtra. It is mandatory as per the Societies Act. Last but not least, the participation of the employees must be there. It could be with some clarification. In the Societies Act of Maharashtra, the employees’ participation is according to the number of Directors on the Board. Suppose, if there are ten members, one person would be from the employees, if there are 11 members, two persons would be from the employees, if there are 21 members, 3 persons, and if there are 31 members, there would be four persons, like that. That is very clearly stated in the Societies Act of Maharashtra. Suppose there is no Union, then election should be held for this specific purpose with the help of Co-operative Department. If the Union is there, a recognised representative of the Union should be there. It should be clearly mentioned.
With all these things, I support the Bill and I wish the hon. Minister for Agriculture will take cognisance of the points that I have made and do the needful.
SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR (MAYILADUTURAI): Mr. Chairman, I rise to extend my heart-felt support to this path-breaking Bill before us. When Shri Rajiv Gandhi introduced a Bill to amend the Constitution to give constitutional sanction to Panchayati Raj, he stressed thatPanchayati Raj for political empowerment needed to be complemented by economic empowerment through the cooperative movement as well as access to justice through village level Nyaya Panchayat. It has taken a decade and more to move from political empowerment through the Panchayats, a process still in the doldrums, to the essential complementary step of legislation for the cooperatives. Of course, the Bill before us deals with only one segment of the cooperative movement, namely, Multi-State Cooperatives. But certain key concepts legalised through this Bill could provide a model for States to follow in regard to single state Cooperatives.
I draw the attention of the House in particular to section 7(1)(b) which provides that the Central Registrar must satisfy himself that the bylaws of the cooperatives are "in accordance with cooperative principles". Section 11(7)(b) provides that no amendment of any bylaw will be accepted until the Registrar is satisfied that the proposed amendment "does not conflict with cooperative principles". But, more important even than these provisions is section 24(1) which stipulates that federal cooperatives must facilitate the voluntary formation and democratic functioning of cooperative societies.
With regard to audit, with regard to merger, with regard to division, with regard to self-management, with regard to the appointment and removal of the Chief Executive Officer and other key officers, the Multi-State Cooperatives Bill I think lights up the beacon which show us the path ahead not only in Parliament but to those in the State Assemblies also. I think we need to stress the importance of these cooperative principles because the abuse of the cooperative movement in post-Independence India is largely a saga of the violation of the three fundamental principles of cooperation; namely, voluntary association, democratic character and autonomous functioning. Unless and until the lakhs of cooperative societies in our country pass the litmus test of being voluntary, democratic and autonomous, I am afraid, merely multiplying the number of cooperatives to the point where India has by far the largest number of cooperatives in the world is no guarantee of cooperatives functioning in accordance with cooperative principles.
Cooperation without adherence to cooperative principles is no cooperation. The principles of cooperation were laid down as far back as the Rochdale Conference in the United Kingdom in 1847, more than a century and a half ago. There has been much cogitation and evolution since then - specifically Reifeisen - and we now have codified these principles undertaken through the International Cooperative Alliance in 1937 and again in 1966. There is no doubt that the ICA Code must, of course, be refracted through the prism of our realities, but they do constitute a useful benchmark against which to measure our performance. Alas, when we do so, we find we do not measure up. The proof lies in the two key committee reports which I would like to restore to the attention of our distinguished Union Minister for Agriculture and Cooperation: the Ardhanareeswaran Committee Report of 1987 and the Brahm Perkash Committee Report of 1991, besides of course the Ram Niwas Mirdha Committee Report of 1996 which has resulted in the Bill before us.
"The essential character of co-operatives is voluntary co-operation which has to be democratic and therefore, autonomous." The Brahm Perkash Committee subscribed to the same view and drew attention to what it called the "progressive erosion" of these essential characteristics. Yet, the plague of co-operation in our nation has been that co-operatives, by and large, are not voluntary because primary societies are forced by State Governments to merge and divide like ameoba, not because the primary societies wish to do so of their own volition but because the State Government through the Registrar compels them to do so. As for democracy, co-operatives are not democratic either because, as the Brahm Perkash Committee somewhat inelegantly put it, politicians on the Board of Management and Management Committees of Co-operatives have "manoeuvred wrongfully to gain ulterior end." Not quite grammatical but entirely accurate!
Democracy within co-operatives has been suborned by manoeuvring for ulterior ends and autonomy has been given the go-by because the Registrar in the Indian co-operative system has emerged as the be-all and end-all of the Co-operative Movement. This is a long-standing tragedy. I have read a report by a British ICS officer, Edward MacLagan, in 1915, in which he says:
"When we think of co-operatives in India, we do not call to memory the humanitarian and philanthropic Reifeisen, but the mercenary Registrar of the co-operatives society." And the Gorwala Report of 1954, with its ringing affirmation "Co-operation has failed. Co-operation must succeed." I learned that at university nearly forty years ago. It is a national tragedy that 40 years on – indeed, nearly a 100 years on from MacLagan – our co-operatives remain the hand-maidens of venal Registrars and their political masters. That is why I greatly welcome the stress in this Bill on Multi-State Co-operatives fulfilling the three key criteria of being voluntary associations, democratic in character and functioning autonomously.
The task before our distinguished Minister is not so much to get this Bill passed – which, I am sure, will be done later today – as to work towards ensuring that the three basic principles get incorporated into the law of the land.
This requires a constitutional amendment at least as important as Part IX and Part IX A which were brought into the Constitution as the eventual outcome of Shri Rajiv Gandhi’s historic initiative.
Co-operatives are a State subject and the only way in which State legislation can be brought in line is to oblige the State Legislatures to follow constitutional requirements. And because there is no constitutional sanction of a sufficiently detailed kind for the co-operatives, we have seen the fate of the Brahm Perkash model State Co-operatives Bill languishing for over a decade with nobody in the least interested in accepting Choudhary Brahm Perkash’s model as a model for themselves. That is why we need a constitutional amendment on the lines of Part IX and Part IX A for thepanchayats and municipalities respectively.
The need for such action through the Constitution has been underlined since the very disturbing judgement given by Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy on article 19 (1) ( c ) read with article 19 (2) of the Constitution.
The key consideration in that Supreme Court judgement was that the word `cooperatives’ does not appear explicitly in article 19, and, therefore, the right to freedom of association given to political parties, NGOs, trade unions and chambers of commerce and industry does not extend to cooperatives. I am not faulting the judgement because the Supreme Court, after all, has to go by what is said in the Constitution. What I am suggesting is that since the Chinnappa Reddy judgement has explicitly drawn attention to these lacunae in our Constitution, we must, as a Parliament, move to fill the lacunae. This can be done by the simple addition of the word `cooperatives’ to article 19 (1) ( c ). May I seek an assurance from the hon. Minister that Government will, in fact, move urgently towards considering such a Constitutional amendment? However, while amending article 19 as proposed might provide Constitutional sanctity to one principle of cooperation – that association must be voluntary – that would not do all that is required to deal with the other two key principles of democracy and autonomy.
Studies made by a Group of us, under the aegis of the Cooperative Development Foundation of Hyderabad, a Group, which incidentally included the present Convenor of the National Democratic Alliance in his personal capacity and myself, (so you can see the twain do sometimes meet!) along with a host of distinguished jurists and cooperators of long standing, Shri Rajeev Dhawan, Shri Rajinder Sachar and Shri L.C. Jain, among others, did prepare some draft amendments to the Constitution, involving changes to articles 19 (1) and (c) and (g ), article 31 (A) (2) and article 40, besides proposing a new part IX B to the Constitution comprising two new articles, article 243 ZH and article 243 ZI.
Our Group never completed its work, but I would be more than happy to share our preliminary suggestions with the hon. Minister of Agriculture, so that the work is carried forward, perhaps with the further involvement of some of the more knowledgeable members of the CDF Group.
I would like to go one step further than the CDF Group and suggest, along with hon. Shri Shivraj Patil and several other Members of this House, that if we are to get a really effective Cooperative Movement going in this country, we must include in the proposed Constitution Amendment, provision for reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, where applicable, as well as universally for women as has been provided in the case of the Panchayats and the Municipalities under Parts IX and IX A of the Constitution.
While, therefore, hailing the present Bill as a step in the right direction, may I, in conclusion, appeal to the Government through the Treasury Benches that we avail of this historic milestone to launch ourselves on a major Constitution review exercise?
Sir, in conclusion, I would like to draw hon. Minister’s attention to two letters written by the Leader of Opposition, Shrimati Sonia Gandhi to the Prime Minister in August, 2000 and September, 2000 respectively, on the conversion of existing producer cooperatives into producer companies. We have no problem with having producer companies. We have no problem with producer cooperatives shutting down and re-constituting themselves with whoever wants to be in it as producer companies. But the provision that is being considered is this: the existing producer cooperatives will, through pressure upon the members of the cooperatives, convert into producer companies. The joint stock companies are the exact contradiction of the principles of cooperation. So it shows that there is a great deal for us to proceed slowly in this matter. The fact of the matter is that with the wide variety of cooperatives that we have in this country, there is a major distinction in reality between large-scale producer cooperatives such as, for example, the sugar cooperatives of Maharashtra and small marketing cooperatives, cooperatives meant for inputs in agriculture and consumer cooperatives. We need to distinguish between these things. That is why, it is necessary to be very careful about any kind of an omnibus provision for the conversion of cooperatives into producer companies. … (Interruptions)
Sir, it is really my last word because I can see that you are deeply concerned about my standing up and speaking. Coming to my point, I would mention that in the same letter, Shrimati Gandhi had drawn attention to the need for a National Cooperative Bank. When she wrote this letter to the Prime Minister, we did not have the Madhavpura Bank scandal or the recent Nagpur scandal. It is clear that the Reserve Bank of India is just incapable of conducting the kind of asurveillance of cooperative banks which cooperative banks actually require. With this dyarchy that we have of the Reserve Bank of India also being responsible and the Registrars in the States also being responsible and each passing the buck to the other, we need to do something. I cannot say more about this because I am a Member of the JPC. We will be reporting on this in detail. But the fact is that the Reserve Bank of India is simply incapable of doing this. And they themselves do not want to continue being involved in the surveillance and monitoring of our cooperative banks. Unless we get a proper surveillance and monitoring system in, we are not going to be able to properly regulate the cooperative banking sector. Therefore, there is a very urgent need for the hon. Union Minister of Agriculture to stop concerning himself exclusively with Uttar Pradesh as he has been doing in the last three months, and start turning his attention to his portfolio’s responsibilities, and an early aspect of which must be constitutional amendments relating to the cooperatives and the establishment of a National Cooperative Bank.
With these words, I conclude.
डॉ.रामकृष्ण कुसमरिया (दमोह) : माननीय सभापति महोदय, सहकारिता आन्दोलन आम आदमी का आन्दोलन है और गरीब से गरीब, पिछड़े हुए, सुदूर इलाकों के तमाम लोगों की आशाएं सहकारिता के द्वारा ही पूर्ण होती हैं। मुझे याद है कि जब मालगुजारी का समय था तो प्राइवेट मनीलैंडर्स के द्वारा किसानों की जमीनें और उनकी धन-सम्पत्ति नीलाम कराई जाती थीं, बर्बाद हो जाती थी, लेकिन जब से सहकारिता आन्दोलन शुरू हुआ, लोगों को इससे राहत मिली है। इसको और ताकतवर बनाने के लिए माननीय मंत्री जी जो बहुराज्य सहकारी सोसायटी विधेयक लाये हैं, मैं इसका हार्दिक स्वागत करता हूं और इसका पुरजोर समर्थन भी करता हूं।
इन सोसायटीज का कारोबार किसी एक राज्य में नहीं, अनेक राज्यों में फैला हुआ है, उसमें एकात्मकता और एकरूपता लाने के लिए यह विधेयक लाया गया है, ताकि लोकतांत्रिक पुट उसके भीतर आये और उसमें कोई राजनैतिक मनमानी न हो, इस बिल में इन सारी बातों का विचार किया गया है। चौधरी ब्रहम प्रकाश जी की अध्यक्षता में जो समति बनी थी, उन्होंने अपनी सिफारिशों में अपने जिस आशय को रखा था, उस समय यह कार्य पूरा नहीं हो पाया था, उस कमी की पूर्ति करते हुए, उसमें और संशोधन करते हुए आज के परिप्रेक्ष्य में सारी बातों का समावेश करते हुए इस विधेयक को लाकर माननीय मंत्री जी ने हमारे देश में यह एक बहुत बड़ा क्रान्तिकारी कदम उठाया है।
मान्यवर, देखने में आया है कि अनेक संस्थाओं में गिने-चुने लोग ही बार-बार कभी उस पद पर और कभी इस पद पर आते रहते हैं। इस कारण यह सहकारिता आंदोलन कुछ लोगों के कब्जे में हो गया है। इसलिए इसके ऊपर भी नियंत्रण करने की आवश्यकता है। इसको ध्यान में रखते हुए मंत्री जी ने बिल में प्रावधान किया है कि मंत्री उसके अध्यक्ष और उपाध्यक्ष नहीं बन सकते। राजनीति को दबाव कम करने की इन्होंने कोशिश की है। नैफेड, एन.सी.यू.आई. और एपेक्स को ज्यादा ताकत देने की आवश्यकता है।
मैं एक बात और कहना चाहता हूं। जैसे हमने ग्राम पंचायतों में और अन्य जगहों पर महिलाओं को, अनुसूचित जाति, जनजाति तथा ओ.बी.सी. वर्ग को आरक्षण दिया है, यहां भी संवैधानिक रूप से उनके हितों का संरक्षण करने की आवश्यकता है, ताकि सहकारिता के क्षेत्र में भी ये वर्ग उभर सकें। मंत्री जी ने इस विधेयक के द्वारा जो सहकारिता में नया प्राण फूंकने का काम किया है, मैं उसका पुरजोर समर्थन करता हूं।
SHRI H.D. DEVE GOWDA (KANAKPURA): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to welcome this Bill. There is no difference of opinion particularly on this Bill but there are certain issues where I need certain clarifications from the hon. Minister.
While piloting the Bill, he has made some initial remarks. This particular Bill is going to be applied for those institutions which are mentioned in the Second Schedule. He rightly pointed out that the State Governments would be requested to implement some of the salient features of this Bill because every State has got its own Act. To carry forward the very object of this Bill, the State Governments have to cooperate. Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar has made some valuable suggestions. In the case of Panchayat Raj institutions, the Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth constitutional amendments have been brought in. Ultimately, all the States have to proceed on the basis of the Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth amendments. But, here you are going to make a request.
To what extent these States are going to extend their co-operation? The States have their own compulsions. I do not want to bring politics here. There are many reports of the Committees. I do not want to again go back to the previous reports or the recommendations made by various committees. But you may have to think again to bring a suitable constitutional amendment to give teeth to this particular Bill. It has got its own far-reaching positive effect on the implementation of the entire cooperative system. I do not want to take much time of the House. Most of the economy, as far as the agricultural sector is concerned, depends only on the cooperative lending. Be it marketing, credit, fertilisers, seeds, and sugarcane. All most all these issues come only to strength the agricultural economy.
I would like to quote what some of the economists have said. One economist has said:
"This is a dangerous trend for a nation like ours. Limited value addition in agricultural products and inability to provide agricultural finance have been quoted to be the main reasons for this trend. If Indian economy is to secure a stable growth over a long period, agriculture should never be neglected. The kind of financial support which is provided for the service sector ought to be made available for the agricultural sector as well." I do not want to go on quoting the views of several other agricultural economists and waste the time of the House.
Sir, I am very happy that Shri Ajit Singh is piloting this Bill. He is the son of a farmer who has dedicated his entire life to the cause of farmers. While piloting this bill, the hon. Agriculture Minister has mentioned some of the salient features of the Bill. Clause 44 of the Bill prohibits any Minister of the State Government or Central Government from holding the office of the Chairperson of a multi-State cooperative society. It is a welcome move.
Sir, as far as the strength of the nominated members is concerned, Clause 48 says that the number of such nominated persons shall not exceed one third of the total number of members of the board. It also prescribes the right of the nominated members. But I would like to know from the hon. Agriculture Minister whether a nominated member can become the Chairperson of a multi-State cooperative society or only an elected member can become the Chairperson. It has not been clearly prescribed in this Bill. Clause 44 of the Bill only says:
"No member of a board shall be eligible to be elected as chairperson or president or vice-chairperson or vice-president of a multi-State cooperative society if such member is a Minister in the Central Government or State Government." It has not prohibited a nominated member from becoming the Chairperson of the society. So, I would like the hon. Minister to clarify the doubt which is lurking in my mind.
With regard to Board of Directors, Clause 41 (3) says:
"The board shall consist of such number of directors as may be specified in the bye-laws:
Provided that the maximum number of directors in no case shall exceed twenty-one:" It is all right. But as far as nominated members are concerned, Clause 48 says that the number of such nominated persons shall not exceed one third of the total number of members of the board. It means that the Government is going to nominate seven members. What does it mean? Is it not political interference of the Government in the functioning of a multi-State cooperative society? I do not understand this. The hon. Minister should clarify as to why seven members should be nominated to the board. Clause 48 (1) (a) says:
"where the total amount of issued equity share capital held by the Central Government or the State Government is less than twenty-six per cent of the total issued equity share capital, one member of the board;…" If it is more than 26 per cent, there will be two members.
It has been further mentioned as under:
"(c) where the total amount of issued equity share capital held by the Central Government or the State Government is fifty-one per cent, or more of the total issued share capital, three members of the board:" This is one suspicion whereby you are going to take the powers to nominate about one-third of the members, that is, seven members. I would like to ask the hon. Minister to clarify this point during his reply.
I also want to know the mind of the Government about the Chairperson. You kindly clarify these two issues.
The powers of the Chairman have been prescribed nowhere. You have prescribed the powers of the Board against clause 49 and of the Chief Executive against clause 52. What are the powers of the Chairperson? That provision has not been made anywhere.
You want to supersede a society under clause 141. The powers for supersession are going to be taken by the Central Government. But the recommendations made by the Brahm Perkash Committee and all these things have not been brought forward fully in this amending Bill or the repealing Bill.
Even at the State level, the co-operative society is empowered to supersede an institution. Then, there will be Deputy Registrar, Joint Registrar and then Registrar. Then, it goes to the Minister. You are going to say: "I am going to request the State Government." Is it going to be carried away as a model Bill by all the States? They have got their own political compulsions. You know how the things are going on there. These are some of the issues.
Even for supersession of the Board, the entire powers have been given to the Chief Executive. You go to the powers of the Chief Executive. All the powers are with the Chief Executive. The Board is only nominal. They are going to meet once in a quarter because the functions of the Board are like that. They have no financial powers. Everything has been vested with the Chief Executive. Why do you want to supersede the Board? You must see not only to suspend that officer but also to take further steps to penalise that officer. If you want to give all the powers to the Chief Executive and you have no trust in the elected members of the Board or the elected Chairman, then what autonomy are you going to give? These are some of the issues that are creating doubts in my mind. Kindly clarify when you are going to reply to the debate.
DR. V. SAROJA (RASIPURAM): Hon. Chairman, Sir, I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to talk about this very important Bill. The genesis of the co-operative movement started in 1901. We are bringing forward a very important Bill after 100 years - still with some modifications.
I rise here to support the Bill with certain reservations. The first President of India, Bharat Ratna Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan said:
"It is by suffering that we understood." Is it a fact that we are trying to learn the problems and difficulties that we are facing through this co-operative moment after hundred years? At least now we should critically evaluate the Bill, that is, the purpose for which we are debating this Bill. Are we going to achieve the results of these amendments?
If so, is there any time limit by which we are going to achieve the purpose of this Bill?
Mr. Chairman, Sir, let me go straightaway to the topic. What are the key elements of a good co-operative law? Firstly, it should be fundamentally and inalienably consistent with co-operative principles. Secondly, it should enable, not prescribe. Thirdly, save where the public interest is at stake – and that is normally the concern of other law – co-operative laws should leave matters to the members and their bye-laws. Fourthly, co-operative law should not duplicate, much less replace, other laws – too often, misdeeds are protected by co-operative laws. Fifthly, co-operative laws should enforce the fiduciary responsibility of elected leaders and senior managers, holding them accountable for managing the affairs of a co-operative with the same prudence and integrity as they would their own. Is this Bill addressing or incorporating all the elements of a good co-operative law?
There are a few positive points that I could see but this Bill fails to address certain issues. Sir, I am a lady Member participating in this important co-operative movement. I appeal to this august House that even after 52 years of Independence, in spite of all the human resources and all other sources available with us, we have not achieved what we should have achieved. I am sure that if this co-operative movement is going to be a hundred per cent woman-oriented, I think, we will be able to achieve the results. I am sure that within the completion of the Eleventh Five Year Plan, we will be able to see the results. Sir, we can even take stock of the achievements after five years. I would appeal to all the Members of this august House to pass unanimously this legislation; it should be included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution of India; and it should have a separate Chapter for this.
My hon. senior leaders have spoken about the reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs. Within that 100 per cent co-operative movement for women, we can provide reservation within reservation. I would like to make an appeal to all the leaders and to all the political parties in this House and outside the House to critically evaluate this point, and on this one point, we should rise above the party lines and we should show to the entire world that we are one in this co-operative movement.
Sir, there are plus points in this Bill. The bye-laws can be formulated according to the need of the Multi-State Co-operative Act. The conduct of election is the responsibility of the members and the Board of Directors. The restriction on terms of holding the office is removed. Sir, this is a very welcome point. There are points like right to promote the subsidiary units as well as the joint ventures, which will create more job opportunities; also the buy-back policy when we make the Multi-State Co-operative Act; deemed registration and amendment in bye-laws. Sir, the very important point that I could appreciate is the disqualification of the Board members for non-performance.
This one point, I think, would create awareness and inculcate in the minds of the members of co-operative societies a sense of responsibility and accountability for timely conduct of elections and preparation of financial reports. Timely audit is not being done. In spite of the fact that auditors are being paid over and above their fees, audit reports are not being placed on time.
The Multi-State Co-operative Societies Bill gives the power to the societies to choose their own election commissioners, which is very welcome. Clause 27 provides for educational courses for members. There are about 21 crore members in the co-operative movement. There are five lakh co-operative stores catering to the needs of the country, out of which rural credit outflow is 43 per cent through the co-operatives. In respect of fertilisers, it is 37 per cent, 55 per cent for sugar production, edible oil production through co-operatives is 51 per cent and storage capacity through co-operatives is 63 per cent. In respect of milk production and dairying, co-operatives enable India to attain a hundred per cent. This is again because of empowerment of women. They are playing their role in achieving this. Here, clause 27 provides for education and training programmes to the 21 crore members of the co-operative movement. I would like to draw the attention of the House to the Budget allocations.
In the Expenditure Budget, 2002, the hon. Finance Minister announced for the year 2001-2002 a Plan Budget of Rs.13.75 crore. For the year 2002-2003, the Budget allocation is Rs.37.70 crore. The co-operative movement is for the welfare of the members of the movement. May I appeal to the hon. Finance Minister through this august House that the members’ welfare should be taken care of and more funds should be allocated?
When we are discussing this Bill, are we not concerned about related Acts and amendments to those Acts? In the year 2001-2002, the hon. Finance Minister gave tax exemption to the co-operative societies. He gave tax exemptions of about 30 per cent to 35 per cent. May I request that he should bring an amendment to the Income Tax Act before this august House because the co-operative movement is for the welfare of the members of the co-operative societies? It is not for commercial purposes. So, I would appeal that an Income Tax (Amendment) Act may be brought in. I would also suggest that there should be a separate cell in the Banking Division under the Ministry of Finance to address the related issues and ensure timely credit outflow to the societies for the welfare of the members. This is also for the consideration of this august House. May I get a reply from the hon. Minister, which I hope would be purposeful and meaningful, whether within a short time we could have these amendments incorporated?
I would also like to point out here that clause 142 provides rule-making powers to the Central Government.
Again, if you are going to invite the Government for rule-making power and you are inviting the Government in encroaching upon the freedom of the cooperative societies, then the purpose of this Bill will be totally defeated.
Sir, Clauses 84 to 103 mention about the Cooperative Dispute-Settlement Authority. Is it possible to have an Authority with so many officials in that Authority with the Chairman, Secretary and other subordinate officers? When there is a settlement by arbitration and reconciliation, I fail to understand what is the necessity for the Cooperative Disputes-Settlement Authority. I would like to know from the hon. Minister about it, while he is replying.
As the hon. former Prime Minister has rightly pointed out, if 20 per cent share is there, there will be one person and if 20 t0 50 per cent share is there, two persons can be nominated and if more than 50 per cent share is there, three persons can be nominated and if it is less than 15 per cent, we cannot give the place in the cooperative society. I would be very happy, if the hon. Minister of Agriculture enlightens us on this aspect.
Sir, I would like to quote clause no. 41(3) of the Bill because I am more bothered about the reservation. … (Interruptions)
MR. CHAIRMAN : Dr. V. Saroja, please conclude.
DR. V. SAROJA : Sir, I will just conclude.
The 18 per cent and one per cent reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes must be earmarked.
Sir, last but not least I would like to refer to clause 7 (1) (d). I strongly appeal that that clause must be deleted.
Sir, with these few words, I conclude my speech.
17.03 hrs (Shri P.H. Pandiyan in the Chair)
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN (BALASORE): Sir, I rise to congratulate the hon. Minister of Agriculture for piloting such a path-breaking Bill. I also congratulate the first speaker from the Opposition, Shri Shivraj V. Patil. He is a leading light in the cooperative movement. He made so many illuminating suggestions. I congratulate him for his suggestions also.
Sir, I do not come from a State like Maharashtra or Gujarat where the cooperative movement has got very strong roots. I have come from a State like Orissa where cooperative movement means it is an appendage to the Government. Till I became an MP, I thought that cooperative movement means it is a Government department. This is the real feeling I had. Here only I understood that it is something very different. I come from a State where conduct of elections to the cooperative bodies is regularly irregular. I come from a State where the political leaders vie with each other to be nominated to the cooperative bodies as Directors or as Chairman. But when I came here I just found that the cooperative movement has got so many ideologies and so many ideas.
Sir, why should there be a cooperative movement? Firstly, it is to supplement the planning efforts of the Central and the State Governments in undertaking various developmental activities in the economic and social sphere. Secondly, it is to supply various inputs like quality seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, etc., to help raise agricultural production. Thirdly, it is for promotion of social good and social welfare through reducing exploitative tendencies unleashed by the private sector.
Fourthly, it is the flow of adequate and timely credit to the rural sector at concessional rate of interestLast but not least, it is improving management excellence and training workforce through education and training programmes for the co-operative leaders and members at different locations of the country.
These are the basic ideas of the co-operative movement in this country. What ails actually is the co-operative moment? What is the problem of this co-operative movement? The co-operative organisation has virtually become a Government organisation, as I have already told you, and it has lost its distinct identity and self-reliance as the co-operative societies have become totally dependent upon the Government patronage. Co-operative societies, at times, have been used as the tools for implementation of the Government programmes, like distribution of credit, procurement of agricultural produce on behalf of the Government agencies, distribution of consumer items, and providing relief to some displaced groups. Just on the other day, in Orissa, there was a clamour that if the Food Corporation of India is not buying paddy from the farmers, let the co-operative societies buy the paddy from the farmers themselves. How is it possible? The Co-operative Department will buy paddy from the farmers and if it is not sold within six months, the co-operative society will be finished. But everybody wants that co-operative societies should do such things.
I will not go into the details of the Bill because these have already been enumerated by the hon. Members. The hon. Minister in his initial speech has already told that he has piloted this Bill to remove the bureaucratic interference from the Co-operative Department. I fully agree with him. But with regard to the reservation, whereas I fully agree that there should be reservation for women and for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, let me tell you that in Orissa, there is provision for women and for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to be nominated, to be elected to the co-operative bodies. So, what further reservation do we require, I do not know. I do not know if that rule persists everywhere in India, but in Orissa, there is a provision in the primary societies, in the district societies for the nomination of women and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Now I shall come to the point as to what are the key elements in the Brahma Prakash Committee which have not been included in this Bill. I would request the hon. Agriculture Minister to listen to me because I would just make some suggestions with regard to the points which have been left here.
In this Bill, the rule making power is still left with the Department. The Government Department will still prepare the rules. How was the Government Department preparing the rules earlier? In the past, the Department utilised this power to act arbitrarily and beyond the scope or the intent of the law. So, I hope, the hon. Agriculture Minister will see to it that the Government Department also does not behave in the fashion in which it was behaving earlier. If he wants that the bureaucratic interference should be removed, then why should there be a rule making power with the same bureaucrats? So, my first point is, you should look into it.
My second point is, the proposed Bill continues to provide the Government the right to subscribe to the equity of the multi-State co-operative societies. Why should the Government still have the equity in the multi-State co-operative societies? Why do they not give it full independence? Let it collect from its own resources. Let it have its own equity money. Why should the Government intervene in the co-operative societies? If the Government is having its equity in the co-operative society, it will positively have bureaucratic interference and political interference. So, if you want that there should be no interference from the politicians, then you will have to remove it.
The third point is, the proposed Bill does not provide for any liability for deficit. If there is a deficit, then who is liable for it?
The hon. Minister of Agriculture should look into that point also. The proposed Bill is contrary to the spirit of the model Act. It imposes restriction on holding of office in more than two Multi-State cooperatives. The hon. Minister should look into this aspect also.
There is another point which I will just try to bring to the attention of the hon. Minister. The proposed Bill imposes restriction on the cooperative’s ability to deploy its funds and disposal of surplus. It has allowed for the mobilisation of capital. This Bill has given independence for the mobilisation of the capital. But what about the deployment of its funds and what about the disposal of surplus? This privilege also should have to be given to the Multi-State cooperative societies.
On the area of operation, the proposed Bill imposes restriction on the new Multi-State cooperative societies in the area of operation of an existing Multi-State cooperative society. Hon. Member Shri Shivraj Patil has also told the same thing. If there is one Multi-State cooperative society in one State, then why can there not be another society? It should be allowed and it should not be restricted to only one and it should be allowed.
Sir, I will give one or two suggestions in a minute or two and then conclude. This particular point has been raised by many hon. Members and I am also raising the same thing. Kindly abolish the dual control on the cooperative societies by both the State Government and the RBI or the NABARD. In the last securities scam, everybody knows the role played by the Lucknow Urban Cooperative Bank. The loans were taken from the bank without filling up any form. The Directors of the bank behaved as if it is their personal property. They took the loans themselves just without signing any form etc. There was no collateral security. Nothing was there.
When you asked the RBI they say : "We cannot take any action; we are only confined to policy decisions." When the District Magistrate or the State Registrar of Cooperative Societies is asked about it, he also said : "We do not have any responsibility and it is the CBI which is looking into it". How will the CBI look into all sorts of irregularities committed by these cooperative societies? So, there should be some responsibility. Who is responsible to look into it? Is it the State Registrar of the Cooperative Societies or the Reserve Bank of India? Therefore, the hon. Minister should look into this aspect and he should see that there is a single control and not a dual control.
On the banking function, if there is any cooperative bank, the banking function should also come under the Banking Regulation Act. The States should ensure the freedom of the cooperative societies so that they can have the enabling progressive Cooperative Acts.
Last but not least, I will now raise a very important point for the kind attention of the hon. Minister. The cooperative societies now give loans to the agriculturists. They bring loan from NABARD. All the nationalised banks are supposed to give 18 per cent of their total loans to the farming sector, to the farmers. But they do not do it. They give that money to NABARD and NABARD gives that money to the cooperative societies and the cooperative societies give the loans to the State cooperative societies which in turn give the money to the district-level societies and then it comes to the primary cooperative societies. Everybody charges some administrative charge and ultimately the rate of interest comes to as high as 22 per cent. Can you believe that somebody will return money by paying as high a rate of interest as 22 per cent? How is it possible? From the very first day that you give the loan to the farmer, you see to it that he falls sick, he defaults and he does not pay back.
Therefore, my request to the hon. Minister is : if you really want that the agriculture sector is improved, the farmers should take the money and should invest it in the agriculture sector, then give the farmer the loan at the rate at which he can repay; you give him a loan at a rate of interest which should be less. The Reserve Bank of India is cutting the interest rate in every aspect. You see to it that this rate of interest is reduced.
With these words and with these suggestions, I conclude.
श्री धर्म राज सिंह पटेल (फूलपुर) : सभापति महोदय, बहुराज्य सहकारी सोसायटी विधेयक २००० पर चर्चा करते समय, मैं मंत्री जी का ध्यान सहकारी सोसायटीज की दुर्दशा की ओर खींचना चाहता हूं। खासकर उत्तर प्रदेश में जितनी भी को-आपरेटिव कोल्ड स्टोरेज हैं या सहकारी चीनी मिलें थीं, उनकी हालत अत्यंत खराब चल रही है। इसी तरह इन सोसायटीज के माध्यम से किसानो को जो खाद दी जाती थी या जो भी उनसे गेहूं क्रय किया जाता है, उसमें निहायत भ्रष्टाचार की बू है। हम वहां का हाल देखते हुए कहना चाहेंगे कि जो राष्ट्रीय सहकारी सोसायटीज बनी हैं या जो आगे बनेंगी, उनकी भविष्य में क्या दशा होगा ? कैसे उनको कंट्रोल किया जायेगा? आपने विधेयक में लिखा है कि हम उन पर कंट्रोल करेंगे। जो उदाहरण कुछ दिन पहले आये हैं, बहुत सी बीमा कम्पनियां खुली हैं। इसके अतरिक्त जगह-जगह और भी बैंक खोले गये हैं, प्राइवेट सैक्टर में खोले गये हैं। उनमें व्यापक स्तर पर जिन लोगों ने पैसा जमा किया है, उनके पैसे की लूट हुई है। जो रजिस्टर्ड सोसायटीज थीं, वे भी भाग गयी हैं। हमें डर लग रहा है कि ये जो सोसायटीज गठित होंगी, अगर सैंट्रल गवर्नमैंट की हैं तो कोई बात नहीं लेकिन जो राज्य सरकार की हैं, उनमें भी यही दशा रही, तो जो आम जनता की, किसान की या मजदूरों की पूंजी इसमे लगेगी, वह डूब जायेगी। सोसायटी के चेयरमैन ने अगर उस पूंजी का दुरुपयोग करना शुरू कर दिया तो क्या होगा ? मैं आपसे निवेदन करना चाहूंगा कि आप कम से कम इतना शिकंजा जरूर रखें।
वैसे आपने इसमें कहा है, हमने इस विधेयक को सारा तो नहीं पढ़ा लेकिन जो थोड़ा बहुत पढ़ा है, उसके हिसाब से आपने इसके लिए उसमें कुछ नियंत्रण कोशिश की है। मैं आपको कुछ राय देना चाहूंगा। मैं किसी सोसायटी का नाम नहीं लेना चाहता क्योंकि हम कुछ इन्फोर्मेशन इकट्ठी कर रहे हैं। एक बहुत ही प्रतिष्ठित कोआपरेटिव सोसायटी है जिसका नाम सभी लोग जानते हैं और उससे सभी परचित हैं। वह खाद पैदा करने का काम करती है। जितना शोषण उस सोसायटी में होता है, उतना शायद कहीं भी नहीं होगा। वहां सारे सरकारी नियमों की धज्जियां उड़ाई जा रही हैं। उस सोसायटी में आठ-दस साल से जो लोग काम कर रहे हैं, उनको नियमित नहीं किया जा रहा है। जो करोड़ों रुपये की मशीनें मंगाई जा रही हैं, उसका कहीं कोई टेंडर नहीं है, केवल वर्क ऑर्डर पर पूरी की पूरी कम्पनी, प्लांट का प्लांट खरीद लिया गया है। इस प्रतिष्ठित कम्पनी के अंदर जिस तरीके से घपले हो रहे हैं, उसे देखकर मुझे ताज्जुब हुआ है। जब कभी मुझे मौका मिलेगा तब मैं सदन के सामने यह बताऊंगा कि इन सोसायटीज का क्या हाल है ? वह बीमा कम्पनी में प्रवेश करने जा रही हैं। इस तरीके से सब कामों में ऐसा होगा तो क्या दशा होगी? इसलिए मैं मंत्री जी से निवेदन करना चाहूंगा कि इस ओर थोड़ा ध्यान रखें और इन सोसायटीज में जो आठ-दस साल से लोग काम कर रहे हैं या उनमें जो मशीनें खरीदी जा रही हैं, जो लाखों-करोड़ों रुपये का सामान लगाया जा रहा है या बिक्री की जा रही है, उस पर नजर रखें कि उसे कैसे कंट्रोल किया जाये।
भविष्य में कहीं ऐसा न हो जैसे यू.टी.आई. घोटाला हुआ या और बड़े-बड़े कांड हो जाएं तब आपको पता चले। मैं यह भी अनुरोध करूंगा कि भविष्य में होने वाले घपले या जनता के पैसे के दुरुपयोग की तरफ भी सरकार का ध्यान रहे। इसी के साथ मैं समाजवादी पार्टी की तरफ से इस विधेयक का समर्थन करता हूं।
Our Deputy Leader, Shri Shivraj V. Patil, Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, and the former Prime Minister, Shri Deve Gowda, have given their valuable suggestions. On the same lines, I wish to give you a few suggestions.
The cooperative movement in Karnataka first started at Gadag, Hubli. Even to this day, people of that entire area owe their survival to these cooperative organisations. This movement needs freedom from the political parties. I wish to point out one very important thing to the hon. Minister that the political interference is the only reason why the cooperative movement is suffering. It is because of this that it cannot survive. You have to take out the cooperatives from the clutches of the political parties. Let the representatives of the political parties be there in the Board of Directors as members. However, we have to remove clause 48 from this Bill because then only this cooperative movement will survive.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, through the Constitution Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth Amendments, you have made the provision so that all sections could participate in the local body elections. Like that, in the cooperative sector also, you have to make some amendments to see that all the weaker sections and the Scheduled Castes participate in the elections. In Karnataka, this is already there. There is reservation for women in the primary societies, and also there is reservation for the Scheduled Castes. When there is such a provision, where is the need for nomination? Earlier, there was the need for nomination because there was no provision to protect the interests of the weaker sections. Now, when there is a provision, there is no need for the Government to interfere by way of nomination, whatever share or amount they contribute. Cooperative society is a semi-public institution.
The Government may have its share in the society but simply because they have got share in that, they should not control the organisation. There should not be any political interference. Whichever Government comes to power it nominates its members on the Board of the society and completely destroys the system. I would not like to go into the details of it. But one thing that I would like to mention here is that the executive powers should be limited. The societies have a democratic set up. If the Board commits a mistake the society should have enough authority to check and control it. The Government has to find a mechanism for this. But there should be total freedom for the societies from political interference. In a village any member of a family should have a passbook and whenever he wants he should be able to go to the societies and get fertilizers, seeds and whatever else he requires and he should return the amount due to the society. So, there should be total freedom to run the societies. These societies suffer because of political interference. To ensure this freedom, the Government needs to have a fresh look at clauses 41, 48 and 51. The Government needs to make a slight change in these clauses and see that a new thrust is given to the co-operative movement. The people from the farming community and the agricultural labourers should be made members of the societies. The participation of these people is necessary in the co-operative movement. Nomination of Members to the Board by the Government should be stopped. It is under these circumstances only that the organisation of Co-operatives would survive. The Government must find a way out by which political interference in the co-operatives could be stopped and see to it that a new thrust and a new look is given to the co-operatives by nominating members from the farming community and agricultural labourers in the Board of these co-operatives.
श्री गिरधारी लाल भार्गव (जयपुर) : मान्यवर, कृषि मंत्री जी जो बिल लाये हैं, मैं उसका समर्थन करने के लिए खड़ा हुआ हूं। ब्रहम प्रकाश जी की समति बनी थी और मिर्धा जी की समति बनी थी। उन्होंने कुछ सुझाव दिये थे, उन सुझावों को इस बिल में माना गया है। सन् १९८४ में यह विधेयक लाया गया था, पर इस विधेयक में कमी थी, इसलिए उस कमी को दूर करने का काम इन दो समतियों ने किया है। केन्द्रीय सरकार ने ऐसी सहकारिता सोसायटीज, जिनका उद्देश्य का विस्तार एक सा हो और एक राज्य तक सीमित न हो, उनको इस बिल में डालने का प्रयास किया है।
यहां पर और सारी बातों का विवेचन तो मैं बाद में करूंगा, लेकिन चार माह तक यदि रजिस्ट्रेशन कराने वाले व्यक्ति को सूचना न मिले तो वह ऑटोमेटिकली वह सोसायटी रजिस्टर्ड मानी जायेगी, माननीय मंत्री महोदय ने इस बिल में यह बात कही है। इसी प्रकार से यदि कोई व्यक्ति तीन मीटिंग में उपस्थित नहीं होगा तो उसको अनुपस्थित मानकर उससे हटा दिया जायेगा। एक और जो इसमें सबसे बड़ी बात कही गई है, वह यह है कि सोसायटियों में कोई भी मंत्री, चाहे वह राज्य का हो या केन्द्र का हो, दोनों ही प्रकार के मंत्री सोसायटी के अध्यक्ष नहीं होंगे। यह भी एक अच्छी बात है, जो जनतांत्रिक तरीके से की गई है। इससे मंत्री का किसी प्रकार का दखल नहीं होगा, चाहे वह राज्य का मंत्री हो या केन्द्र का हो। यह भी एक सुन्दर बात कही गई है।
इसी प्रकार से जो लेखा परीक्षा होगी, जो ऑडिट सिस्टम होगा, वह भी उस कम्पनी के द्वारा ही किया जायेगा, यह बात भी इसमें कही गई है। इसके साथ-साथ एक-दो सुझाव, जो हमारे पिछले माननीय स्पीकर थे, उन्होंने दिये हैं कि बहुराष्ट्रीय सहकारी समति में भी कहीं किसी प्रकार का अभाव है तो इस सम्बन्ध में भी हम विचार करें। एक बात जो बहुत महत्वपूर्ण है कि महिलाओं की भागीदारी इसमें सुनिश्चित होना बहुत ही आवश्यक है। मैं समझता हूं कि इसमें इसका प्रावधान नहीं किया गया है, इसलिए महिलाओं को भी इसमें शामिल किया जाये। यह बात भी हो और अनुसूचित जाति, अनुसूचित जनजाति और गरीब तबके के लोगों के प्रतनधित्व का भी इसमें प्रावधान किया जाये, यह भी बहुत आवश्यक है।
MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Bhargava, you can continue Half-an-hour discussion.
MR. CHAIRMAN : The House will continue the discussion on Multi-State Cooperative Societies Bill, 2000.
Shri Girdhari Lal Bhargava may continue.
श्री गिरधारी लाल भार्गव (जयपुर) : माननीय सभापति जी, माननीय मंत्री जी बहुराज्य सहकारी सोसायटी विधेयक पारित कराने हेतु सदन में लाए हैं। मैं इसका पुरजोर समर्थन करने के लिए खड़ा हुआ हूं। मैं इसका समर्थन करने हेतु इसलिए खड़ा हुआ हूं क्योंकि केन्द्रीय सरकार की ऐसी सहकारी सोसायटियों, जिनके उद्देश्यों का विस्तार एक राज्य तक सीमित न हो और एक से अधिक राज्यों में ऐसी सोसायटियों के सदस्य हों, उनका हितसाधन करने के लिए यह विधेयक प्रस्तुत किया गया है। वर्तमान व्यवस्थाओं में एकरूपता की कमी और अपर्याप्तता थी। इसको संतुलित करने के लिए केन्द्र सरकार इस प्रकार का बिल लाई है। इसके लिए मंत्री महोदय बधाई के पात्र हैं।
महोदय, चौधरी ब्रहम प्रकाश और श्री राम निवास मिर्धा जी की समतियां बनीं, उन्होंने ये सुझाव दिए हैं। मेरा कहना है कि इन बातों को तय करने के लिए, छूट देने के लिए, अपने संसाधनों को बढ़ाने के लिए, रजिस्ट्रार की आवश्यकता न पड़े और ये सोसायटियां बिना रजिस्ट्रार को बीच में लाए अपने संसाधनों को बढ़ा सकती हैं, यह बात इसमें कही गई है। इसका मैं स्वागत करता हूं। कहीं यदि किसी जगह डिस्प्यूट हो जाए, तो सहकारी विवाद समाधान प्राधिकरण बनाए जाने का इसमें प्रावधान किया गया है। इस बिल में निश्चित रूप से अनेक बातों का समाधान किया गया है। कोई व्यक्ति चाहे वह केन्द्र सरकार या राज्य सरकार में मंत्री हो, वह सोसायटी का अध्यक्ष या उपाध्यक्ष नहीं बन सकता है। यह बहुत अच्छी बात इस बिल में दी गई है। इसी प्रकार से तीन सामान्य बैठकों में यदि कोई सदस्य अनुपस्थित रहेगा, तो उसको हटा दिया जाएगा, यह बात भी इस बिल में ठीक कही गई है।
महोदय, मैं समझता हूं कि इसमें किसी को विरोध नहीं होगा। विरोध के बारे में कहा गया है कि केन्द्र सरकार जो न्यायाधिकरण बनाया जाएगा, वह उस विवाद का निपटारा करेगा और निर्णय देगा। इसमें एक अध्यक्ष और चार सदस्य होंगे। केन्द्र सरकार इसे नियुक्त करेगी। अध्यक्ष और उपाध्यक्ष मिलकर सारा काम करेंगे। मेरा निवेदन है कि इस बिल में बहुत अच्छी बातें लिखी गई हैं और इस संशोधन के माध्यम से बहुत अच्छा काम किया जा रहा है, लेकिन मेरा यहां पर कहना यह है कि इस बिल के बारे में यहां कई अच्छे सुझाव भी आए हैं जिन्हें इसमें समाविष्ट किया जाना चाहिए।
महोदय, बहुराज्यीय सहकारी समतियों का निश्चित रूप से इसमें प्रादुर्भाव हो, महिलाओं की सहभागिता हो, राज्य सरकार और नगर पालिकाओं में महिलाओं की भागीदारी हो, केन्द्र सरकार ३३ प्रतिशत महिलाओं को आरक्षण देने का बिल ला रही है, इसलिए इसमें महिलाओं का समावेश किया जाना बहुत जरूरी है। इसी प्रकार से अनुसूचित जाति, अनुसूचित जनजाति और पिछड़े वर्ग के लोगों का इसमें समावेश नहीं किया गया है। उनके हितों की रक्षा करने के लिए इस बिल में निश्चित रूप से उनके समावेश के बारे में क्लाज जोड़ा जाना चाहिए।
महोदय, सहकारी बैंकों में लोगों का जो पैसा जमा है, मैं समझता हूं कि ग्रामीण इलाकों के लिए हमको छूट होनी चाहिए और छूट देकर जो रकम उनमें जमा कराई है, उसका ठीक प्रकार से प्रयोग हो सके, उस पैसे का कोई गबन न कर सके, वह किसी अन्य कार्य पर व्यय न हो सके, इस पर जरूर विचार करना चाहिए।
अन्त में, मैं कहना चाहता हूं कि मंत्री जी बहुत मेहनत करके सोसायटियों की उन्नति करने के लिए बहुत बड़ा बिल लाए हैं, इसके लिए मैं उन्हें धन्यवाद देता हूं और जिन बातों के मैंने सुझाव दिए हैं जैसे महिलाओं के बारे में, अनुसूचित जाति, अनुसूचित जनजाति तथा पिछड़े वर्गों के लोगों के बारे में और जब यह जनान्दोलन हो गया है, तो लोगों का पैसा सेफ रहे, सुरक्षित रहे और बैंकों तथा सोसायटियों में गबन न हो और गबन करने वाले अधिकारियों को पर्याप्त रूप से सजा मिले, इस संबंध में आप अवश्य विचार करेंगे। मैं माननीय मंत्री जी को पुन: बधाई देते हुए इस बिल का पुरजोर समर्थन करता हूं क्योंकि वे बहुत अच्छा बिल लाए हैं।
डॉ. रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह (वैशाली): सभापति जी, यह मल्टी पार्टी गवर्नमैंट है इसलिए यह बिल भी मल्टी स्टेट को-आपरेटिव है। मुझे लगता है कि यह बिल आने में विलम्ब हुआ है। चूंकि १९९० में चौधरी ब्रहमप्रकाश कमेटी बनी। उस कमेटी ने १९९१ में अपनी रिपोर्ट दे दी लेकिन आज तक वह लागू नहीं हुई। लगता है कि यह सरकार मल्टी नैशनल के प्रभाव में थी इस कारण इस बिल के आने में विलम्ब हुआ। मैं पूछना चाहता हूं कि इसमें इतना विलम्ब क्यों हुआ ?हमारा कहना है कि मल्टी नैशनल कम्पनीज को-आपरेटिव के खिलाफ हैं और वह चाहती हैं कि को-आपरेटिव सोसायटीज को खत्म कर दिया जाये। हमारा कहना है कि गरीब, बेरोजगार युवक की जो स्थिति है, बिना सहकारिता आंदोलन से उनका सुधार संभव नहीं है।
इसी तरह श्री राम निवास मिर्धा कमेटी बनी। स्टैंडिंग कमेटी में इस बिल को रैफर किया गया। स्टैंडिंग कमेटी ने जो अनुशंसा दी, उस अनुशंसा को सरकार ने पढ़ने तक का काम नहीं किया। उसमें पिछड़ी जाति, अनुसूचित जाति-जनजाति, महिलाओं के लिए आरक्षण का प्रावधान था। उसको आपने क्यों नहीं लागू किया ? आपने इस बिल को लाने में क्यों देरी की ? जब आपने उस अनुशंसा को ही नहीं मानना, उसकी वाजिब बात को ही नहीं मानना तो फिर इस बिल को लाने में देरी क्यों की ?हमारा कहना है कि स्टैंडिंग कमेटी में सभी पार्टी के लोग रहते हैं। जब उस स्टैंडिंग कमेटी ने अनुशंसा की है तो फिर कौन सी शक्ति लगी हुई है कि आपने उस स्टैंडिंग कमेटी की अनुशंसा को जिसमें अनुसूचित जाति-जनजाति, पिछड़ी जाति और महिलाओं के लिए आरक्षण का प्रावधान था, आपने इस बिल में उसका प्रावधान क्यों नहीं किया? मैं कहना चाहता हूं कि सरकार ने उस अनुशंसा की अवहेलना करने की कैसे हिम्मत की ? इस पर हम अंत तक लड़ाई करने के लिए तैयार हैं। हम देखते हैं कि यह बिल उनको आरक्षण दिये बिना कैसे पास हो जायेगा। जब सब सदस्य बोल रहे हैं, इस बिल में अगर अनुसूचित जाति-जनजाति, पिछड़ी जाति और महिलाओं को शामिल नहीं किया जायेगा तब इस को-आपरेटिव सोसायटीज का कोई मतलब नहीं है। यह पाकेट संस्था हो जायेगी। कुछ लोगों की पाकेट में यह संस्था रहेगी। इसलिए स्टैंडिंग कमेटी की अनुशंसा की जो अवहेलना हुई है, उसके लिए सरकार सुधार करे अन्यथा हम देखते हैं कि यह बिल कैसे पास हो जायेगा। हमारे पास जनमत है। हमने सारे सदस्यों को सुना है इसलिए हमारा कहना है कि जनमत के बिना ये इस बिल को कैसे पास कर लेंगे। इसके लिए हमने अमेंडमैंट भी मूव किया है। बिना वोटिंग के यह पास होने वाला नहीं है। चौधरी ब्रहम प्रकाश कमेटी की रिपोर्ट, श्री राम निवास मिर्धा की रिपोर्ट और फिर स्टैंडिंग कमेटी की रिपोर्ट आई। किसी ने भी नहीं कहा कि चेयरमैन की पोस्ट पर अगर कोई आदमी दो टर्म से ज्यादा रहेगा तो उसे तीसरी बार नहीं रहने दिया जायेगा। मैं मंत्री जी से जानना चाहता हूं कि वे यह अमेंडमैंट कैसे लाये हैं ? हमने एक अमेंडमैंट दिया है कि नियम ४४ में इन्होंने जो संशोधन दिया है कि जो आदमी दो बार चेयरमैन रहेगा, वह तीसरी बार नहीं होगा, वह आप किस आधार पर ऐसा करना चाहते हैं। कमेटी ने ऐसा कुछ नहीं कहा। क्या यह अमेरिकन प्रेजीडेंट की पोस्ट
है ? एम.एल.ए. और एम.पीज. आठ या दस बार जीत सकते हैं, मंत्री बन सकते हैं, चीफ मनिस्टर बन सकते हैं, प्राइम मनिस्टर बन सकते हैं तो यह कौन सी ऐसी भारी पोस्ट है जिसको आप दो बार से ज्यादा नहीं रख सकते। हमारा कहना है कि आप इसे दो टर्म से ज्यादा क्यों नहीं रखना चाहते? बिना किसी कमेटी की अनुंशसा के आप यह अमेंडमैंट लेकर आये हैं इसलिए हमने इसके खिलाफ अमेंडमैंट दिया है। आप तर्क से यह साबित कर दीजिए कि किस कारण आपने ऐसा किया है कि एक आदमी दो टर्म से ज्यादा चेयरमैन की पोस्ट पर नहीं रह सकता। अगर किसी आदमी को दो टर्म के लिए रहने के लिए कहा जायेगा तो फिर वह अच्छा काम क्यों करेगा?
वह सोचेगा कि हमको दो टर्म रहना है, इसलिए हेरा-फेरी करके चला जाएगा। लेकिन उसमें य़दि फिर से जीतने की क्षमता है और आप उसे बनने नहीं देंगे तो वह अपनी पत्नी, अपने कर्मचारी को बना देगा, क्या इससे कोआपरेटिव्ज का काम ठीक चलेगा। अगर आप कोआपरेटिव्ज में सुधार चाहते हैं तो उसे नान-ऐलीजबलिटी में रखिए, यह प्रावधान रखिए कि यदि कोआपरेटिव घाटे में गईं तो उसे दुबारा चुनाव नहीं लड़ने देंगे। यदि ऐसा कानून बनाएंगे कि दो बार से ज्यादा बनने ही नहीं देंगे तो कोई व्यक्ति कितना अच्छा काम करेगा। आपने ऐसा किसलिए किया है। इसलिए हमने अमैंडमैंट दिया है। यदि हम गलती पर हैं तो आप तर्क से हमें समझा दें, हम अपनी गलती मान लेंगे, नहीं तो मैं जो तर्क दे रहा हूं, उस पर विचार कीजिए। जो कानून आप बनाएंगे, उसमें यह प्रावधान करें कि यदि किसी व्यक्ति के चेयरमैन होते हुए कोआपरेटिव ५० प्रतिशत घाटे में है और उसके जाने के बाद घाटा बढ़ गया, कम नहीं हुआ तो उसको दुबारा चुनाव नहीं लड़ने दिया जाएगा। यदि कोई व्यक्ति अच्छा काम कर रहा है और आप उसे दो बार से ज्यादा चेयरमैन नहीं बनने देंगे तो उसका प्रतिफल खराब निकलेगा। इसलिए मंत्री जी इस बारे में पुनर्विचार करें और अपने अमैंडमैंट को वापिस लें, नहीं तो हमें समझा दें कि क्यों दो बार के बाद उसे चुनाव लड़ने से वंचित करना चाहते हैं। यदि ऐसा करेंगे तो किसी व्यक्ति का उत्साह खत्म हो जाएगा, वह सोचेगा कि दो बार के बाद बनना नहीं है तो अच्छा काम क्यों करें। इसलिए इसे परफार्मैंस से जोड़ना चाहिए कि यदि किसी व्यक्ति की अवधि में कोआपरेटिव अच्छा काम कर रही हैं तो वह दुबारा बन सकता है, अगर अच्छा काम नहीं कर रहीं तो उसे दुबारा नहीं बनने देंगे।
लोग दस-दस रुपये के शेयर लगा कर कोआपरेटिव्ज पर कब्जा करने के लिए सदस्य बन जाते हैं जबकि कोआपरेटिव्ज से उनका कोई मतलब नहीं होता। एन.डी.डी.बी. की कोआपरेटिव में यह प्रावधान है कि जो किसान तीन महीने तक उनको दूध की सप्लाई करेगा, उसी को वोटिंग राइट होगा।…( व्यवधान)इसमें भी उसी तरह की वोटिंग राइट का प्रावधान किया जाना चाहिए कि जो सदस्य उसकी सर्विस लेते हैं, उसमें इन्वॉल्वड हैं, उन्हीं को वोटिंग राइट दिया जाएगा। बिहार, जम्मू कश्मीर, आंध्रा प्रदेश और मध्य प्रदेश - इन चार प्रदेशों में मॉडल कोआपरेटिव्ज वाला कानून लागू है। हाल ही में बिहार में सुधार किया गया है। बिहार में कुल २६०० कोआपरेटिव्ज - मॉडल कोआपरेटिव्ज की तरह काम कर रही हैं। यह ठीक है कि अभी जो राज्यों का बंटवारा हुआ है, यह कहा गया है कि कोआपरेटिव्ज के बंटवारे की जरूरत नहीं है, मल्टी-स्टेट कोआपरेटिव्ज कानून के तहत फिर से उनका रजिस्ट्रेशन करवा दिया जाएगा। अभी जो कानून बन रहा है, यह दावा किया गया है कि इसमें सरकारी हस्तक्षेप को कम करेंगे, खत्म करेंगे।
उससे डैमोक्रेटिक होगा और ऑटोनोमी इसकी होगी, यह बात ठीक है, लेकिन इनका जो नेशनल कोआपरेटिव डवलपमेंट कारपोरेशन है और नाबार्ड है, उन्होंने कानून बनाया हुआ है कि हम तभी लोन देंगे, जब स्टेट गारण्टी होगी। अब आप स्टेट की कोआपरेटिव को खत्म कर रहे हैं, स्टेट का हस्तक्षेप आप खत्म कर रहे हैं तो कोई भी स्टेट गारण्टी क्यों देगा। जब आप कोआपरेटिव से स्टेट के हस्तक्षेप को खत्म कर रहे हैं तो स्टेट गारण्टी नहीं देगा, इसलिए एन.सी.डी.सी. और नाबार्ड में भी तदनुसार इनको संशोधन लाना पड़ेगा और जो प्रावधान है कि स्टेट गारण्टी की अनिवार्यता है, उसको खत्म करना पड़ेगा, तब माना जायेगा कि आप कोआपरेटिव के मामले में हस्तक्षेप को खत्म करना चाहते हैं और उसको ऑटोनोमी देना चाहते हैं। ऑटोनोमी कैसे हुई, जब सरकार गारण्टी नहीं देगी, तब तक एन.सी.डी.सी. और नाबार्ड उनको लोन नहीं देगा और लोन नहीं देगा तो सरकार का अधिकार उसमें खत्म हुआ तो फिर उसको लोन कैसे मिलेगा, इसलिए इसमें माननीय मंत्री जी एन.सी.डी.सी. और नाबार्ड के कानून में संशोधन का प्रावधान करें, फिर जो छोटे-छोटे गांवों में बसने वाले हैं, उनको लोन का इनके पास क्या प्रावधान है ? उनको कैसे ऋण मिलेगा, इसलिए पैक्स में जमा वृद्धि योजना हम लोगों के यहां बिहार में है, जिसमें पैसा जमा करने का और छोटे-छोटे लोन किसानों को देने का प्रावधान किया है और यह प्रयोग बड़ा सफल रहा है, लेकिन बार-बार आर.बी.आई. और नाबार्ड से उसको चिट्ठी जाती है कि आप क्यों बैंक का नाम इस्तेमाल करते हैं, इसलिए उसमें प्रावधान होना चाहिए, नहीं तो यह किसान विरोधी सरकार का तो यह काम हो सकता है कि किसानों को छोटे-छोटे ऋण मिलें और वे वहीं पैसा जमा कर दें। उनको गांव में ही ऋण मिले, पैक्स जमा वृद्धि योजना का अच्छा काम कर रहा है, लेकिन उसमें केन्द्रीय सरकार के संस्थान अवरोध उत्पन्न कर रहे हैं, यह अवरोध खत्म होना चाहिए। फिर सरकार ने इण्टीग्रेटिड कोआपरेटिव डवलपमेंट प्रोग्राम चलाया, लेकिन दसवीं पंचवर्षीय योजना में ये उसके प्रावधान को घटा रहे हैं। हमारा आरोप है, सरकार की गतवधियों में मैं देख रहा हूं कि किसान विरोधी और गरीब विरोधी व्यवहार हो रहा है। जब इण्टीग्रेटिड कोआपरेटिव डवलपमेंट प्रोग्राम (समेकित सहकारिता विकास कार्यक्रम) है तो इसमें और जोर देना चाहिए, इस पर बल देना चाहिए, कोआपरेटिव पर खर्च बढ़ाना चाहिए, लेकिन यह नहीं कर रहे हैं। दसवीं पंचवर्षीय योजना में इन्होंने खर्च घटानेका काम किया है, इसलिए इसमें सुधार की जरूरत है।
अभी बिहार में भोजपुर, सारन, सिवान, खगड़िया और कैमूर का आई.सी.डी.पी. में प्रस्ताव आया हुआ है, उसको मंजूर करने के लिए हम मांग करते हैं। देश भर में ३८१ सैण्ट्रल कोआपरेटिव बैंक हैं, जिनमें से १४१ की हालत खराब है और ६० को नोटिस दिया गया है कि आप बैंक बन्द करिये। भारत सरकार ने और इनके संस्थान ने कामर्शियल बैंक और ग्रामीण बैंक की बेलैंस शीट को दुरुस्त करने के लिए दस हजार करोड़ रुपया दिया है। लेकिन जो सैण्ट्रल कोआपरेटिव बैंक और छोटे स्टेट कोआपरेटिव बैंक हैं, उनके लिए आपने कोई मदद नहीं दी कि वे भी अपनी बेलैंस शीट को दुरुस्त करें, उसके लिए आपने प्रावधान क्यों नहीं किया है। एक तरफ १० हजार करोड़ रुपये और कोआपरेटिव बैंक को एक पैसा नहीं, इसलिए मैं मांग करता हूं कि सैण्ट्रल कोआपरेटिव बैंक मरें नहीं, इसलिए उनके लिए भी आप बेलैंस शीट दुरुस्त करें, जिस ढंग से आपने कामर्शियल बैंक और ग्रामीण बैंक की बेलैंस शीट को दुरुस्त करने के लिए मदद की है। उसी तरह से सैण्ट्रल कोआपरेटिव बैंक को भी आप मदद करिये। आपने कहा ही है कि देश भर में एक नेशनल सैण्ट्रल कोआपरेटिव बैंक बनाया जायेगा, उसका गठन होना चाहिए।
अन्त में, आर.बी.आई. में कपूर कमेटी बनी है, कपूर कमेटी की अनुशंसाओं को लागू करने के लिए केवल १०० करोड़ रुपये का प्रावधान क्यों हुआ है?
उसको आगे बढ़ाने के लिए आर.बी.आई. की जो कपूर कमेटी की सिफारिशें हैं, उनको लागू करना चाहिए। मैंने जो यह चार-पांच सवाल किए हैं, इन पर मैं मंत्री जी से स्पेसफिक जवाब चाहता हूं, नहीं तो मैं मानूंगा
कि यह सरकार किसान विरोध ही, अनुसूचित जाति, जनजाति और पिछड़ी जाति विरोधी है। सभी किसानों का कैसे भला हो, सहकारिता आंदोलन कैसे सफल हो, मल्टी स्टेट कोआपरेटिव सोसाइटीज कैसे सफल हों और सरकार का कैसे हस्तक्षेप कम हो, इन पर आपको ध्यान देना चाहिए। जो क्लाज आप लाए हैं, उसको वापस लें, नहीं तो हम वोटिंग के लिए आग्रह करेंगे।
श्री थावरचंद गेहलोत (शाजापुर): सभापति महोदय, मैं बहुराज्यीय कोआपरेटिव सोसाइटी विधेयक २००० का समर्थन करता हूं। हम सब जानते हैं कि अपने देश में सहकारिता का बहुत महत्व है। सहकारिता के माध्यम से इस देश में निजी लोग मिलकर पूंजी एकत्र करके, संगठन बनाकर कृषि के क्षेत्र में, गृह निर्माण के क्षेत्र में और अन्यान्य क्षेत्रों में चाहे बैंकिंग के क्षेत्र में हो, अपना योगदान दे रहे हैं। इस प्रकार की संस्थाओं को सुद्ृढ़ करने की द्ृष्टि से यह जो विधेयक लाया गया है, इसमें इस सम्बन्ध में काफी प्रावधान हैं, जिनका मैं समर्थन करता हूं।
कुछ बातों की ओर मैं मंत्री जी का ध्यान दिलाना चाहता हूं। वे इस दिशा में अगर थोड़ा सतर्क होकर नियम बनाते समय ध्यान रखेंगे तो जो छोटी-मोटी विसंगतियां विपक्ष के माननीय सदस्यों को दिखाई देती हैं, उनका भी निदान हो जाएगा।
१८.२८ hrs.( Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh in the Chair)
सभापति महोदय, जब आप वहां बैठे थे, तो आपने कहा था कि ब्रहम प्रकाश समति की रिपोर्ट १९९० में आ गई थी। १९९० के बाद उसमें जानबूझकर विलम्ब हुआ। कुछ प्रत्यक्ष और अप्रत्यक्ष आरोप आपने बोलते हुए लगाए थे कि उनके प्रभाव में आकर इस विधेयक को नहीं लाया जा रहा था। आप अगर उधर होते तो मैं आपसे पूछता, इस वक्त आप आसन पर हैं, फिर भी मैं पूछ लेता हूं कि जब आप १९९६-९७ और १९९७-९८ में सरकार में केबिनेट मंत्री के रूप में रहे, आपके सहयोगी भी रहे और आपके खासमखास प्रधान मंत्री रहे, उस वक्त आपने इस विधेयक को लाने का कष्ट क्यों नहीं किया ? अब जब यह विधेयक आया है, तो उसकी प्रशंसा करनी चाहिए, उसका समर्थन करना चाहिए। जो छोटी-मोटी खामियां हैं, शंकाएं हैं, उनको दूर करने के लिए इसमें प्रावधान है कि यह विधेयक अमल में लाया जा सके। इसलिए सरकार को नियम बनाने के अधिकार होंगे। नियम बनाते समय जो भी छोटी-मोटी खामियां हैं, उनको दूर करने के लिए नियमों में प्रावधान किया जा सकता है।
मैं एक बात से जरूर सहमत हूं कि इसमें आरक्षण की व्यवस्था होनी चाहिए, यह इस विधेयक में नहीं है। या तो अभी से इसमें स्वीकार कर लिया जाए कि इसको कर लें या मंत्री जी अगर नियम बनाते समय इसको करने में सक्षम हों, कानूनी द्ृष्टि से उसका अध्ययन करते समय अपना जवाब देते हुए बताएं। इस विधेयक को यहां लाने के पूर्व देश के सहकारिता क्षेत्र में काम करने वाले विशेषज्ञों को आमंत्रित किया था। सहकारिता क्षेत्र में को जो प्रमुख लोग हैं, संस्थाओं के पदाधिकारी हैं, नौकरशाहों में अधिकारी के रूप में जो रहे हैं, उनमें कुरियन जी जैसे भी लोग हैं, इन लोगों के साथ विचार-विमर्श हुआ था।
उसमें एक बात की शंका व्यक्त की गई थी और वह यह थी कि जिस रजिस्ट्रार को बहुराज्य सहकारी सोसायटी में रजिस्ट्रेशन का अधिकार दिया है, उसमें प्रतिबन्ध यह है कि अगर समान उद्देश्य को लेकर एक सोसायटी रजिस्टर्ड है और दूसरे रजिस्ट्रेशन के लिए कोई आवेदन करता है, तो उस सोसायटी को रजिस्टर नहीं करना चाहिए। यह प्रतिबन्ध इसमें है, लेकिन इसके लाभ-हानि दोनों हो सकते हैं। एक यह कि सहकारिता के क्षेत्र में कम्पीटीटर तैयार हो जाएगा और इससे हो सकता है कि जो सोसायटी पहले से काम कर रही है, उसको दूसरी सोसायटी के कारण नुकसान हो सकता है और दूसरा, अगर एक सोसायटी अच्छा काम नहीं कर रही है और दूसरी सोसायटी उस क्षेत्र में आ गई है, तो उसको देखकर प्रतिस्पर्धात्मक काम को गति मिल सकती है। इस कारण लाभ-हानि दोनों हो सकते हैं। फिर भी हम चाहेंगे कि इस विषय में सरकार सतर्क रहे और ध्यान दे। एक सोसायटी के बाद दूसरी सोसायटी को रजिस्टर करने पर रोक लग जाती है, तो उस सोसायटी पर क्या प्रभाव पड़ता है, वह सोसायटी ठीक से काम कर सकेगी या नहीं, इस गड़बड़ी को ठीक करने की कोशिश करनी चाहिए।
इस विधेयक में एक और भी अच्छी बात है और वह बात यह है कि अगर पहले कोई विवाद होता था, तो मामले न्यायालयों मे जाते थे। परन्तु अब न्यायिक प्राधिकरण बनाकर विवादों को जल्दी से जल्दी हल करने का प्रावधान किया गया है। इस प्रकार की व्यवस्था का प्रावधान स्वागतयोग्य है। इसके अलावा एक से अधिक कार्यालय खोलने पर भी विचार करना चाहिए। बहुराज्य सोसायटी के लिए एक राज्य में कार्यालय खोलने के लिए प्रावधान किया गया है, अगर दो राज्यों में कार्यालय खोलना चाहती है, तो सरकार को इसमें ऐतराज नहीं करना चाहिए। ज्यादा अच्छा होगा, दो जगहों पर अपने प्रधान कार्यालय खोलना चाहें, तो सदस्यों को लाभ मिल सकेगा। इसके साथ ही मंत्रियों को अध्यक्ष या प्रधान पद प्राप्त करने का अधिकार इसमें नहीं किया है। मैं इसका स्वागत करता हूं। परन्तु निवेदन करना चाहता हूं कि यह क्षेत्र राज्यों के अधिकार क्षेत्र में आता है। आपने बहुराज्य सहकारी सोसायटी अधनियम में प्रावधान कर दिया, परन्तु राज्यों में आज भी सहकारिता क्षेत्र में जितनी संस्थायें है, मध्य प्रदेश में तो दुग्ध संघ में तो कैबिनेट मंत्री बैठे हैं और को-आपरेटिव बैंक या किसी अन्य संस्थान में, सभी जगह मंत्री बैठे हैं। अगर आप इसमें मंत्रियों पर रोक लगा रहे हैं, तो मेरा निवेदन है कि इस पर पूरे देश के आधार पर विचार करना चाहिए और राज्य के सहकारिता मंत्रियों या मुख्य मंत्रियों के साथ बैठक करके, ऐसी व्यवस्था करनी चाहिए कि राज्यों में जो एक्ट हैं, उनमें भी राज्यों के किसी मंत्री को किसी पद को धारण करने का अधिकार न रहे। इस प्रकार की व्यवस्था करनी चाहिए, नहीं तो यहां तो आपने कर दिया और वहां वही चलता रहेगा, तो सहकारिता आन्दोलन को ठेस पहुंचेगी और सरकार का भी इसमें हस्तक्षेप हो सकता है।
माननीय सभापति महोदय, जब आप मुझ से पहले बोल रहे थे, तो आपने कहा था कि दो बार से अधिक किसी को भी पद पर नहीं रहना चाहिए, ऐसा सरकार ने क्यों प्रावधान किया और आपने क्लाज ४४ का उल्लेख किया था। वह क्लाज ४४ नहीं है, क्लाज ४६ है।
सभापति महोदय : अमेडमेंट दी गई है।
श्री थावरचन्द गेहलोत : अमेंडमेंट क्लाज ४२ मे है और प्रावधान क्लाज ४६ में है। मैं बताना चाहता हूं कि आपने अमेंडमेंट क्लाज ४२ में दी है, तो गलत दी है और क्लाज ४४ में दी है, तो अलग बात है।
सभापति महोदय : पहले बिल में प्रावधान नहीं था, माननीय मंत्री महोदय ने अमेंडमेंट दी है। आप कृपा कर उसको देख लें।
श्री थावरचन्द गेहलोत : क्लाज ४४ में है, लेकिन आपने उल्लेख क्लाज ४२ का किया है।
सभापति महोदय : क्लाज ४४ में है।
श्री थावरचन्द गेहलोत : इसमें क्लाज ४६ में है। अगर आप कहें, तो मैं पढ़कर सुना देता हूं।
महोदय, मैं कुछ अन्य बातों की ओर मंत्री महोदय का ध्यान दिलाना चाहता हूं। सहाकारिता के क्षेत्र में ठेस पहुंचाने का काम नहीं करना चाहिए। मैं एक उदाहरण देना चाहता हूं। मेरे क्षेत्र में जनता सहकारी बैंक देवास में मर्यादित है और इसकी स्थापना २१ जुलाई, १९४० में हुई थी।
उसका पंजीयन २५ दिसम्बर, १९४१ को हो गया। फिर बाद में उसने बैंकिंग के क्षेत्र में काम करने का निर्णय लिया और उस क्षेत्र में काम करने के लिए यह जो कम्पनी एक्ट है, उसका सैक्शन २२ है, उसके अंतर्गत लाइसेंस के लिए आवेदन किया और वह आवेदन २८ अप्रैल, १९६६ को किया। मैं इस तरफ इसलिए खास ध्यान दिलाना चाहता हूं, क्योंकि १९६६ से वह आवेदन निरंतर विचाराधीन रहा, उसका निर्णय १३ मार्च, २००२ को हुआ। उसका ४० साल तक कोई निर्णय नहीं हुआ, यह निर्णय श्री पी.बी. माथुर, जो एक्जीक्यूटिव डायरेक्टर, आरबीआई कंट्रोल आफिस में हैं, इन्होंने एक निर्णय दिया और वह आवेदन निरस्त कर दिया। आवेदन निरस्त करने के साथ-साथ एक आदेश भी दे दिया कि आप जो बैंकिंग का काम कर रहे हैं, लेन-देन कर रहे हैं, उस पर रोक लगा दें। १६ मार्च से उस पर रोक लग गई।
महोदय, मैं निवेदन करना चाहता हूं कि इस सहकारी समति के लगभग ४९ हजार सदस्य हैं और लगभग २१ हजार खातेदार हैं, जिनका पैसा भिन्न-भिन्न योजनाओं में है- चाहे वह एफडी हो या सेविंग अकाउंट हो, उसमें जमा है और उसमें एक महीने से लगातार प्रतिबंध लगने के कारण लेन-देन नहीं हो पा रहा है। वहां लिक्वीडेटर बैठाने के आर्डर किए हैं। जब एक समय पहले इस सोसायटी के चुनाव नहीं हुए थे और लिक्वीडेटर बैठाया था तो उस शासकीय अधिकारी ने सब चौपट कर दिया था, उसने बैंक को घाटे में लाने का काम कर दिया था और निर्धारित मापदंड से ज्यादा लोन दे दिया था और जो लोन से वापस रिकवरी का परसंटेज़ होना चाहिए, वह भी नहीं किया था। अगर फिर से वह लिक्वीडेटर नियुक्त कर दिया जाएगा तो इस संस्था को भारी नुकसान होगा। इसके विरूद्ध हमने यहां वित्त मंत्रालय के ज्वाइंट सैकट्री के यहां अपील की है। आपका वहां सीधे-सीधे हस्तक्षेप नहीं हो सकता, क्योंकि सहकारिता विभाग आपके पास है, इसलिए मैं आपसे प्रार्थना करना चाहता हूं कि आप इसमें हस्तक्षेप करके इन संस्थाओं को राहत दिलाने की कृपा करें।
महोदय, मैं आपका ध्यान दो बातों की तरफ और दिलाना चाहूंगा - जैसे मार्केटिंग सोसायटियां राज्यों में हैं, इनके माध्यम से केन्द्र सरकार की योजनाएं क्रियान्वित होती है। हमारे यहां से राशन का खाद्यान्न सामान भेजा जाता है, कई जगह उनके माध्यम से वितरण वगैरह किया जाता है या खरीदा जाता है। समर्थन मूल्य पर अनाज खरीदा जाता है। उसे व्यापार मान कर उस पर इंकम टैक्स लगाया जाता है, इंकम टैक्स लगाने के कारण उन्हें काफी नुकसान होता है, पहली बात यह है। दूसरी यह है कि जैसे बहुराज्य सहकारी सोसायटी में आडिट करने के लिए बोर्ड को अधिकार दिया है। बोर्ड निर्णय करेगा, आडिटर नियुक्त करेगा और वह आडिटर आकर कर लेगा, परन्तु वहां आडिट चार्टर्ड अकाउंटेंट से भी कराना पड़ता है और शासन के विभागीय अधिकारियों से भी कराना अनिवार्य है। उनसे जब सोसायटी निवेदन कर देती है तो छ:-छ:, आठ-आठ, दस-दस महीने तक सरकारी एवं विभागीय अधिकारी आडिट करने के लिए आते नहीं हैं। इस कारण इंकम टैक्स की तरफ से नियम में जो प्रावधान है, उसे मान कर इस प्रकार की सोसायटियों पर कहीं पैनल्टी लगाई जा रही है, उनके खिलाफ कार्यवाही की जा रही है। इसलिए उस दिशा में भी ऐसी व्यवस्था करवा दी जाए कि या तो समयानुसार विभागीय अधिकारी आकर आडिट कर दें या फिर चार्टर्ड अकाउंटेंट, जिसका निर्णय सोसायटियों ने किया है, उनसे करवा कर वे प्रस्तुत कर दें तो उसे मान्यता मिल जाए। अगर इस प्रकार की व्यवस्था हो जाएगी तो ठीक होगा, अन्यथा सहकारिता के आंदोलन को काफी नुकसान होता रहेगा। मैं आपसे निवेदन करना चाहता हूं कि इन बातों की तर फ भी आप ध्यान देंगे और प्रयास करेंगे कि राज्यों के साथ बैठ कर एक और कॉम्प्रीहैंसिव बिल लाया जाए ताकि केन्द्र के द्वारा जो विधेयक प्रस्तुत किया गया है, अधनियम बनने वाला है, वह और राज्यों के अधनियम में किसी प्रकार का कोई अंतर न हो और हम सहकारिता के क्षेत्र में तेज गति से अग्रसर हो सकें। अगर सरकार इस प्रकार का प्रयास करेगी तो उत्तम होगा। इन्हीं शब्दों के साथ मैं इस विधेयक का समर्थन करता हूं। धन्यवाद, जयहिन्द।
सभापति महोदय : नियम ४६ में दो सोसायटियों में एक साथ पद धारण नहीं कर सकते।
श्री थावरचन्द गेहलोत : मैं इस बात को स्वीकार करता हूं।
I rise to support the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Bill, 2000. In the present economic scenario of our country, while our country is passing through a difficult situation, when our economic sectors are almost under the clutches of exploiting capital of corporate sectors, multinational companies, foreign monopolies and NRIs, our hon. Minister for Agriculture has introduced the Bill for passing in this august House. I think, it should have been enacted earlier.
Sir, the main thrust is given on more autonomy to the cooperatives. In regard to the amalgamations, dividing and choosing the staff to run the cooperatives, more autonomy should have been given to the cooperatives. It has been mentioned in the Bill and the hon. Minister also spoke today during his speech that to remove the ministerial and bureaucratic interference, some provisions are there. That is why, no Minister would be the Chairman of the cooperative. But it is not understandable to me whether he would be the member of the Board of Directors or not. If there is a bar and restriction to be the Chairman of the Board, and on the other hand, there is no restriction and bar to be a member of the Board of Directors, then the same thing would happen.
So, I request the hon. Minister that a provision must be there so that no Minister can be the member of the Board of Directors and even no bureaucratic officer should be there. What would be in the lower level? Nowadays, the local self-government is supposed to be the Government. The head of the local bodies, whether they would be the members of this Board or not and whether they can be the Chairmen of this Board or not, represents Government. If the Minister cannot be the Chairman of the cooperatives, then why the same provisions would not be applied in regard to the head of the local bodies? So, I request the hon. Minister to think over it.
Another thing is there. I am of the same opinion that reservation for the women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes should be there. I am happy that our Government would like to promote the cooperative movement and also they would like to promote the cooperative sector as well. But may I ask the hon. Minister through you, Sir, that so far as the NABARD is concerned, they are not even lending 18 per cent credit to the agriculture? Is there any guarantee that they will lend minimum 18 per cent to the agriculture sector through the cooperatives?
The next point is about the interest rates. So many hon. Members in this House have raised that point and I am also raising the same point. The Minister should think that the NABARD should lend money to the co-operatives at zero per cent interest so that the burden of interest would be less. Otherwise, the co-operatives will not be strengthened and the burden of interest will be imposed on the ordinary peasants and on the poor people.
Enactment of this Bill may open a new scope to strengthen the co-operative movement. I do agree. Mainly it would facilitate the small farmers, the marginal farmers, the medium farmers and the unemployed youth. The co-operatives will help them for their upliftment. It is all right. It is said about the Panchayat system that the Panchayat system in the countryside is an effective instrument for unfolding the democratic aspirations of the people. That is all right. But without strengthening the co-operative system, the Panchayat system will not go ahead. So, it is inter-related. To help the Panchayat system, to strengthen the Panchayat system, the co-operative system should be strengthened. So, it is very much important nowadays.
More power to the Panchayat is all right, but more power to the Panchayat does not mean more power to the farmers. The farmers can get more power if the
co-operative movement is strengthened. I hope, in the present scenario, not only in words but in deeds, the co-operatives will come up and this proposed Bill will help to strengthen the co-operative movement at large. So, I support this Bill and hope that the hon. Agriculture Minister will think over the proposal which I have given and will respond to them
SHRI E.M. SUDARSANA NATCHIAPPAN (SIVAGANGA): Respected Chairman, Sir, I support this Bill as one of the dreams of the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi is fulfilled. In India, every village, every house is having the theory of inter-dependence and co-operation. The karta of a joint family is just like Chairman in the society and he looks after everything jointly – food, worship and estate. That is the feeling of a Hindu family. As the Kautilya Arthashastra says, "Whoever stays away from any kind of co-operative undertaking, shall send his servants and bullocks to carry on the work, shall have a share in the expenditure, but none in the profits." That is the way of life of Indians. We may have had the cultural invasions and also invasions of various countries on the borders, but we never left the life of a joint family system and the Panchayat Raj system. Therefore, this co-operative system as enunciated in the history by the Britishers is new to us because when a co-operative society is created, the mind goes that it is created only for the purpose of getting some loan or such other benefit through it.
That is not the way of life of the Indians. The way of life of the Indians is Dharma, without expecting anything they unite together, live together and create a community, a society, a village and a country. That is the life of the Indians.
When we see the history of India, we could find out that Sir Horael Plunkett has explained the cooperative system as "Self-help made effective by organisation". In the same way Hubert Calvert described it as follows:
"Cooperation is a form of organisation wherein persons voluntarily associate together as human beings on a basis of equality for the promotion of the economic interests of themselves." This is the English thinking which has made us to have our own Cooperative Societies Act. When Sir F. Nicholson was assigned by the Government of Madras Presidency in 1892 to give a report on the advisability of starting a system of agricultural or land banks in that province, he created two volumes of data which he collected and recommended on it. On that advice the Indian Government at that time, in 1899, has appointed H. Dupernex who created the "People’s Bank for Northern India". He created this in 1899 based on the successful experimenting with village banks in the United Provinces. In the same way we could find out that in 1901, for the first time in Madras Presidency, even before the evaluation of cooperative undertakings, there was this thing in the form of indigenous method ofNidhi which was formed, under which mutual loans were given. About 200 Nidhis or the institutions were created with a total of 36,000 members who were subscribers and an amount of Rs. two crore was saved by those Nidhis in Madras.
In the same way we can find out that following two terrible famines, a Famine Commission was constituted under Sir F. Nicholson in May, 1901 which has given its recommendation for mutual credit association in June/July, 1901. He drafted a Bill and model rules were made in Simla which lead to the Cooperative Credit Societies Act, which was made as a law, on 25th March, 1904. That was made on the lines of the English Friendly Societies Act.
The thinking of the Britishers at the time when they ruled the country was, in between the villagers and the Government in the country there was a wide gap and to fill up that gap this society was created for helping the people who were suffering in the famine. That Act says that, "for any ten persons living in the same village or town or belonging to the same class or caste, they might be registered as a cooperative society for the encouragement of thrift and self-help among the members." That was the objective of the first Act of 1901.
Subsequently, a broadened view was taken by the Cooperative Societies Act II of 1902. Subsequently the 1984 Act has come in and now we are in the year 2002 when we are bringing this Act. When we take these aspirations and when we take the relevant aspects of today, we are very happy that the comprehensive Act has come into force which is brought in by the Government which has presented this Bill now on the basis of previous recommendations.
Every aspect of this is based on the previous Act of 1984 where there were about 14 chapters and 110 Sections. It is an improvement here with 15 Chapters and 144 Sections. But, at the same time, we feel that the very important aspects were also taken into consideration. I need not repeat the same things and, therefore. I want to tell that this particular clause 88(a)(1) gives a new thinking. For the Dispute Resolution Authority where a High Court Judge can be the Chairman, for that purpose due consideration is given here for the Member of the Bar. Therefore, I thank the Government for making this provision which says "If qualified to be a Judge of the High Court", such person can also be a Chairman.
In the same way, I can show many things to show that this enactment has taken into consideration a lot of things. I would like to conclude saying that in Tamil Nadu, the co-operative movement is very powerful, but at the same time, it is under the control of the Government. It should also have the inspiration from this enactment to take that bureaucracy away from the co-operative system and allow the people to have their own transparent and very powerful movement of co-operative system. By this, people can develop themselves economically and can satisfy their own needs by transparency and accountability of creating, and contributing, participating, sharing and bearing the loss. At the same time, they can also develop in all other respects.
डॉ. संजय पासवान (नवादा): आदरणीय सभापति महोदय, मैं इस बिल के समर्थन में बोलने के लिए खड़ा हुआ हूँ जो पिछली कई बार से दुर्भाग्य से टेकअप नहीं हो रहा था। आज इसको लिया गया है और हम सबको मिलकर इसे पास करना है। सभी पार्टियों ने इसका समर्थन किया है और देश के लिए अच्छी बात है कि यह होने जा रहा है।
महोदय, यह देश सहकारिता पर आधारित रहा है। सहकारिता यहां की रग-रग में रही है। यह कोई नई बात नहीं है, यह कोई आयातित दर्शन नहीं है, बल्कि यह भारतीय संस्कृति में जुड़ा रहा है। सहकारिता का संस्कार यहां शुरू से रहा है। हम सब जानते हैं कि इस देश में जितना ही राज्य का नियंत्रण कम रहा, उतनी ही यहां की अर्थव्यवस्था अच्छी रही - चाहे १९वीं शताब्दी में हो या २०वीं शताब्दी में। दुष्परिणाम तब आने लगे जब सरकार का नियंत्रण बढ़ गया, हम सब सरकार पर ज्यादा निर्भर रहने लगे। इसलिए आज सरकार इस बात का अनुभव कर रही है कि एक अच्छी शुरूआत हम इसमें कर रहे हैं कि दुनिया की रफ्तार से हमें चलना है। यह बात अलग हो सकती है मगर जो हमारी परंपरा रही है, जो हमारी मान्यताएं रही हैं, उस मान्यता के अनुकूल यह बात है।
आज़ादी के बाद से या अंग्रेज़ों के आने के बाद से लोग इस बात में घिर गए कि प्राइवेट सेक्टर हो या पब्लिक सेक्टर हो, सरकारी क्षेत्र हो या निजी क्षेत्र हो, मगर सही मायने में हम इस देश में पीपल्स सेक्टर को भूल गए जो प्राइवेट भी नहीं और पब्लिक भी नहीं। इसको रिवाइव करने के लिए कोआपरेटिव का जो बिल लाया गया है और सही मायने में जो भारतीय व्यवस्था थी, जो मृतप्राय हो गई थी, उसको भारत में कृषि मंत्री महोदय और सरकार ने जीवित किया है। यह अलग बात है कि सहकारिता नीति अलग से बने, उस पर चर्चा हो, व्यापक नीति बने, व्यापक बहस छिड़े और जिन क्षेत्रों में सहकार नहीं गया है, वहां भी उसके लाभ दिखाई दें। यह बिल उस ओर बढ़ाया गया कदम है। इससे निश्चित तौर से समाज को लाभ होगा और जिन क्षेत्रों में शुरू से चल रहा है, आप जानते हैं कि जो बजट इस साल का आया, इसमें भी विलंब से ही सही, मगर सरकार की नज़र किसानों की ओर गई है। दुनिया में जो स्थितियां पैदा हो रही हैं, उसमें हम सब कैसे सरवाइव करें। आज जो हमारी अर्थव्यवस्था है इसमें अधिकांश मेनस्टे एग्रीकल्चर है और एग्रीकल्चर में जो कोआपरेटिव है, उसकी बड़ी महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका है। इसके आने से लाभ मिलेगा और जो कुछ बंदिशें थीं, जो सीमित थीं, जो दरवाजे हमने बंद रखे थे, उनको कुछ माध्यमों से खोला गया है और जो कोआपरेटिव माफिया थे जिसके कारण सारा सिस्टम जीर्ण शीर्ण हो गया था, वह तो नहीं हो सकता है मगर इस पर हमला भी किया है। इसलिए इस बिल से जो आम लोगों की भागीदारी है, उसको भी एक गति मिलेगी और दिशा मिलेगी।
साथ-साथ हम चाहेंगे कि इस समय जो एन.डी.डी.बी. और अमूल का मॉडल है और हमारे देश के बाहर थाइलैन्ड में जो कोआपरेटिव का मॉडल खड़ा किया है, हम उसको फॉलो कर सकते हैं।
उसके माध्यम से जो आज डिफरैंस है, उसको देखा जाए और मिटाया जाए। आज आन्ध्रा प्रदेश में जो एक्ट है, वह इस एक्ट से ज्यादा एडवांस एक्ट है। कोआपरेटिव क्षेत्र में गुजरात और महाराष्ट्र में काफी तरक्की हुई है, लेकिन देश के शेष भागों में जिस प्रकार से कोआपरेटिव मूवमेंट दम तोड़ रहा है उसकी तरफ ध्यान देने की जरूरत है। किसी प्रदेश में सहकारिता आन्दोलन के कारण बहुत तरक्की हुई है और किसी प्रदेश में बिलकुल तरक्की नहीं हुई है। इस प्रकार से देश में क्षेत्रीय असंतुलन बनता है। कहीं कोआपरेटिव के कारण कन्फ्रंटेशन न हो जाए, विषमता पैदा न हो जाए, राज्यों को कोआपरेटिव के लाभ समान रूप से पहुंच सकें, इस पर ध्यान देने की आवश्यकता है।
महोदय, मैं विशेष रूप से जो कमजोर वर्ग के लोग हैं, वीकर सैक्शन हैं, हैल्प सैल्फ ग्रुप हैं उनको और समाज के अन्य कमजोर वर्गों को मायक्रो क्रैडिट सिस्टम के माध्यम से ऋण की सुविधा को हम कैसे आम जनता तक पहुंचा सकते हैं, यह अहम प्रश्न है। इस पर विचार किया जाना नितान्त आवश्यक है। कोआपरेटिव के माध्यम से समाज में पूंजी निर्माण के लिए, समाज में असैट फार्मेशन के लिए एक नई गति पैदा करें, ऐसी मेरी कामना है।
महोदय, जो वर्तमान नेतृत्व है और मंत्री महोदय का जो द्ृष्टिकोण है, उससे हमें लाभ मिलेगा और व्यापक फायदे होंगे जिससे निश्चित रूप से अर्थ व्यवस्था में सुधार होगा और दुनिया में हम एक सार्थक भूमिका निभाएंगे। इसके फायदे हमें आने वाले समय में हमें मिलेंगे, ऐसी मैं आशा करता हूं। इसके साथ ही साथ मैं चाहता हूं कि बिहार, उड़ीसा, पूर्वी उत्तर प्रदेश और असम जैसे क्षेत्र जो आर्थिक रूप से समृद्ध नहीं हैं, उन्हें इसका लाभ मिले, ऐसा मेरी उम्मीद है और मैं यह आशा भी करता हूं कि सभी राज्यों को इसका समान लाभ मिलेगा।
SHRI K.P. SINGH DEO (DHENKANAL): Mr. Chairman, Sir, 6th of May, 2002 is a red-letter day for us because the Thirteenth Lok Sabha, in cooperation with the Government unanimously, is about to pass a Bill which, in the hon. Minister’s words, is unshackling the restrictions and the bureaucratic control over the cooperative societies. It has taken ninety-eight years. From 1904, when service cooperative societies were set up by the British, it was a product of the freedom struggle, the evolution has taken ninety-eight years. We are not really unshackling it fully, but substantially.
I must compliment the hon. Minister for having accepted many of the recommendations of the Standing Committee. I compliment his distinguished predecessor for having brought the Bill in the last Session, which is being piloted by Shri Ajit Singh here. I would be failing in my duty if I did not compliment the former Speaker, Shri Shivraj Patil because he was responsible for the advent of the Standing Committees. The Standing Committee of 45 eminent Members of both the Houses, many eminent people like Dr. Kurien, Shri S.S. Sisodia and a host of others, have made valuable contributions by going through with a fine-tooth comb the entire gamut of the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Bill of 2000. Today, this Bill is a product of that effort.
I am not very clear in my mind about one thing, and I would expect the hon. Minister to clarify it. Therefore, I have moved an amendment, which is listed at third place in the serial order. When you talk about ‘unshackling and entering into a new era of democratic functioning’, why are you leaving out 50 per cent of our population, which is the women of our country, 42 per cent of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes? They make about 75 per cent of the people. I was associated with the Joint Committee that examined the Constitution (Seventy-fourth) Amendment Bill, which Shri Shivraj Patil has referred to.
When the dynamic and young Prime Minister of that day the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi wanted to decentralise power and give to thePanchayati Raj institutions and the municipalities and empowered the women and the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Zila Parishads and Panchayats, why is this Government hesitating to make a special provision for the women, the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Backward Classes? This point was very eloquently put forth by your honourable self when you were speaking from these benches. Why is the Government denying them a special provision when this Parliament -- in the last 50 years of its existence, which we are going to celebrate on the 13th of May, 2002 – has made a special provision for the empowerment of women, the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Backward classes in various sectors, why is this Government denying this opportunity to them? This is what I would like to have a clarification from the hon. Minister. I have also given an amendment on this. This is at page 17 at lines 3 – for "21" I have said "31" so that it would bring in all the regions. Again at page 17, in line 4 and 5, "substitute provided further that the Board may co-opt four Directors who shall be from the SC/ST, other Backward Castes and women, in addition to 31 Directors specified in the first proviso." This is not a figment of my imagination. It is very much there in the 24th Report of the Standing Committee that was submitted to Parliament in August, 2001.
Sir, I would like to conclude now because if I say anything else it would only be a repetition of what my eminent colleagues here have already said. The co-operatives have been a very important segment for the economic development and economic empowerment of people in the rural areas, particularly the poor people of the society.
Sir, I would like to conclude by saying that this is an important piece of legislation which the entire Parliament, the 13th Lok Sabha, is going to pass unanimously. The high priest of management, Mr. Peter Drukker, whose books are read in all Management colleges, has said that the best exponent of management is the common Indian housewife. This is not what K.P.Singh Deo is saying but this is what has been said by Mr. Peter Drukker. So, why is this Government denying an Indian housewife from having this special provision in the Act? Shri Kurien has brought out how the housewives of Gujarat, with the help of information technology, have done a wonderful job with their computers in bringing AMUL to what it is today. It is now competing with the multinational companies. Dr. Alagh also mentioned about the insurance sector and the banking sector. I hope, the hon. Minister would clarify this point.
Sir, with these words, I give my unqualified support to this Bill and I also compliment the hon. Minister for having piloted this Bill.
श्री रामदास आठवले (पंढरपुर) : सभापति महोदय, बहुराज्य सहकारी सोसायटी विधेयक, २००० का ड्राफ्ट १४ नवम्बर २००० को जब श्री नीतीश कुमार जी कृषि मंत्री थे, तब बनाया गया था। इसके छ: महीने बाद श्री अजित सिंह कृषि मंत्री बने। क्योंकि ये कृषि में ज्यादा इंटरैस्ट लेने वाले हैं, किसानों की समस्याएं जानने वाले हैं इसलिए शायद यह विधेयक आपके हाथों से इस हाउस में आया है। जो को-आपरेटिव मूवमैंट है, जब तक हम उस मूवमैंट को मजबूत नहीं करेंगे तब तक देश मजबूत नहीं हो सकेगा। किसान हो, खेत मजदूर हो या छोटे-छोटे गरीब लोग हों, अगर इनको इकनोमिकली, सोशियली डेवलप करना है तो को-आपरेटिव मूवमैंट को मजबूत करने का आवश्यकता है। इसलिए आज जो विधेयक लाया गया है, वह उनकी सामाजिक उन्नति और आर्थिक उन्नति के संवर्द्धन के बारे में विचार करता है। को-आपरेटिव संस्था एक राज्य में नहीं बल्कि अनेक राज्यों में काम कर रही है। उनके मैम्बर दूसरे राज्यों में हैं, उनको स्ट्रैन्थन करने के लिए इस विधेयक का बहुत अच्छा उपयोग होने वाला है। मेरा सुझाव इतना ही है कि जब यह विधेयक यहां आया है, अपने देश के संविधान में ओ.बी.सो. को रिजर्वेशन नहीं मिला, मगर अनुसूचित जाति-जनजाति को संविधान में रिजर्वेशन मिला और ओ,बी.सी. को मंडल कमीशन में रिजर्वेशन मिला है।
जब भी सरकार इस तरह का विधेयक लाती है तो इंडियन कौन्सटीटयूशन की गाइडलाइन्स पर ध्यान रखने की आवश्यकता है। यदि कोआपरेटिव्ज को मजबूत बनाना है तो पहले नीचे के लोगों को मजबूत बनाने का संदर्भ होना चाहिए। श्री अजित सिंह जो विधेयक लाए हैं, उसमें एस.सी., एस.टीज को रिजर्वेशन देने का कोई प्रावधान नहीं है। मैं इस विधेयक का समर्थन करने के लिए खङा हुआ हूं लेकिन यह कहना चाहता हूं कि इसमें एस.सी., एस.टीज़ के बारे में सोचने की आवश्यकता है। हम एक अमैंडमैंट भी लाए हैं कि इसमें ६ मैम्बर्स लेने की आवश्यकता है जिनमें से ३ अनुसूचित जाति, १ या २ मैम्बर अनुसूचित जनजाति एवं अन्य पिछड़े वर्गों और महिलाओं में से लेने चाहिए।
जब हम कोआपरेटिव्ज को मजबूत करते हैं तब भ्रष्टाचार भी बढ़ता जाता है। डायरैक्टर्स फाल्स सर्टीफिकेट देकर वहां का ज्यादा से ज्यादा पैसा निकाल लेते हैं। ऐसा बहुत जगहों पर हो रहा है। जब हम कोआपरेटिव मूवमैंट को मजबूत करते हैं, कोआपरेटिव बैंक को मजबूत करते हैं लेकिन साथ ही भ्रष्टाचार को भी मजबूत करते हैं। इसलिए मैं कहना चाहता हूं कि भ्रष्ट लोगों को सख्त से सख्त सजा मिलनी चाहिए।…( व्यवधान)भ्रष्टाचार रोकने के लिए भी विधेयक में कुछ अमैंडमैंट लाने की आवश्यकता है। आपने ४ मैम्बर बताए हैं लेकिन ४ मैम्बर्स से काम चलने वाला नहीं है। इसका चेयरमैन मंत्री नहीं होना चाहिए। जिस व्यक्ति को मंत्री पद मिला हुआ है, वह इसका चेयरमैन क्यों बनेगा। इसमें १५ मैम्बर्स करने की आवश्यकता है। केन्द्रीय रजिस्ट्रार के ऑफिस में १३ कर्मचारी बताए गए हैं। बेरोजगारी काफी बढ़ती जा रही है, इसलिए कम से कम ५० लोगों की आवश्यकता है।…( व्यवधान)यदि ऑल इंडिया कोआपरेटिव मूवमैंट पर कंट्रोल रखना है तो उसमें ५०-६० लोगों को रखने की आवश्यकता है।
इसमें चपरासी के बारे में लिखा गया है। मुझे लगता है कि चपरासी शब्द अच्छा नहीं लगता इसलिए चपरासी शब्द को बदल कर सेवक शब्द रखने की आवश्यकता है। अनुसूचित जाति, अनुसूचित जनजाति के लोगों के लिए कोआपरेटिव ऐग्रीकल्चर का काम शुरू होना चाहिए। छोटे-छोटे सहकारियों को इकट्ठा करके कोआपरेटिव फार्मिंग सोसाइटी को भी ज्यादा से ज्यादा मदद करने की आवश्यकता है।
मैं समझता हूं कि आप जो यह बिल लाये हैं, यह बहुत अच्छा है, लेकिन आपको थोड़ा सा ज्यादा स्टि्रक्ट रहने की आवश्यकता है। खाली कानून लाने से सब कुछ एकदम ठीक हो जायेगा, ऐसा नहीं है, इसलिए किस तरह से हम कंट्रोल रख सकते हैं, इसके बारे में भी सरकार को गम्भीरता से सोचने की आवश्यकता है। यह बिल हिस्टोरिक है, मगर काम भी हिस्टोरिक होना चाहिए, नहीं तो बिल हिस्टोरिक और काम कुछ भी नहीं हो, ऐसा नहीं होना चाहिए, इसलिए कंट्रोल रखने की आवश्यकता है। आप मनिस्ट्री को अच्छी तरह से संभाल रहे हैं। आप शायद उधर नहीं जाते तो आपको यह मनिस्ट्री भी नहीं मिलती और नीतीश कुमार जी के हाथों से यह बिल आता। आप एक अच्छे मंत्री के माध्यम से यहां बोल रहे हैं।
मैं फिर से इस बिल का समर्थन करता हूं। जो भी एमेंडमेंट्स यहां पर आये हैं, उन पर भी आप थोड़ा सा ध्यान देने का प्रयत्न करेंगे, मैं यह आशा करता हूं।
Sir, sub-clause (2) of Clause 1 says that it will extend to the whole of India. That is why I am rising on this occasion to support this Bill.
Sir, when you open the Criminal Procedure Code, it will exclude Jammu and Kashmir. That Act will exclude Jammu and Kashmir. That Act will not extend to Jammu and Kashmir. When you open the Indian Penal Code, it will not extend to Jammu and Kashmir. When you open the Indian Evidence Act, it will not extend to Jammu and Kashmir. Our Indian Constitution is not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.
But here, this Multi-State Co-operative Societies Bill will extend to the whole of India including Jammu and Kashmir. That is why I am rising to support this Bill.
Sir, this is a Bill to integrate the whole country. We all know that the purpose of the co-operatives is based on the following seven principles. One is voluntary and open membership. Everybody comes voluntarily with a definite purpose. He becomes a member. He serves the society and he also gets the benefit. The society also gets the benefit and the community also gets the benefit. We have the Agricultural Co-operative Societies; the Workers Co-operative Societies, etc. In different forms, we have different societies.
Sir, to prevent the vested interests, to continue in power to hold the co-operative societies, this Bill is a welcoming measure. The fixed tenure of two terms or termination of the tenure after two terms is a welcoming measure. To site an example, I would say that my leader Dr. M.G.R, when he was the Chief Minister, had to pass the Bill to fix the tenure for two terms for syndicate membership in two universities because there a person was continuously a Member of syndicate for about eight or nine terms. That is why the vested interests come in.
So, to decentralise our diverse powers from the vested interests, this Bill is a welcoming measure. Then, it has a democratic member control. Every member has got control over the society. So, also there is members’ economic participation. They also invest money. That is why Clause 44 clearly abdicates powers of the Minister. It says that ‘no Member of the Board shall be eligible to be elected as a Chairperson if he is a Minister in the Central Government or State Government’. So, no Minister has got powers to sign a cheque. But a President of a co-operative society has got the powers to issue a cheque. That is why the executive power of a Minister is lesser than that of a president of a national co-operative society.
You are accountable to this House. He, President of a co-operative society, is accountable to the members, to the society and to the community.
Now, I would say about the autonomy and independent part of it. No court can interfere by virtue of Article 226 in the affairs of the co-operative societies. No court has the powers in the writ jurisdiction. It is an independent and autonomous in nature. No co-operative officer’s order can be challenged in a writ petition. The orders of a Sub-Registrar or District Registrar or the top co-operative cannot be challenged.
Then, it has the greatest concern for the community cooperatives. While focussing on the needs of the members, the cooperative work for sustainable development of communities through policies accepted by the members. So, I would say that this piece of legislation is an important one. It may suffer one or two lacunae here and there, but we should not mind that and we should not precipitate that. It is a welcome measure and I support this Bill.
When I was going through the Second Schedule of the Bill, I was not able to find out any national cooperative society from Tamil Nadu or from Chennai. The list includes Mumbai and Delhi. Tamil Nadu is a pioneer in cooperatives and we all know that. We have a large cooperative housing society and we have a big cooperative bank. So, it should be developed to the level of national cooperative societies like that of the Anand Dairy or some other cooperative organisation. I would say that this society alone can enrol members irrespective of gender, caste, religion, etc. There is no such discrimination at all. I would say that the cooperative societies are cooperating with the community.
Sir, you have said that we have a multi-party Government and we have a multi-party system. Earlier, we had one party rule, but now we have different parties ruling. So, cooperative societies are setting examples for good functioning of the Government. In that way, the Government has brought forward this Bill for the benefit of the whole country.
Regarding education and cooperation among cooperatives, I would say this. There is a cooperation among cooperatives also, which is not there in any other field. All the different cooperative societies are cooperating in a unified way. We have the largest weavers’ society in Kancheepuram. We also have the largest society of housing. We have a small lawyers’ society in Chennai High Court. Every member has got the unit of his own to serve. In that way, this Bill will enable the cooperative movement to grow. This will also enable and protect the cooperative movement to sustain itself with the members’ will.
With these words, I thank you very much and I welcome this Bill.
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE (SHRI AJIT SINGH): It is very heartening to note that hon. Members from each and every party have supported this Bill. It is not surprising because this Bill has been brought forward since most political parties wanted it. Many cooperators also wanted this Bill. In fact, it has been overdue and it should have been passed long ago.
I am happy that this Session is going to see the passage of this Bill; it is going to be a historic Session for this reason that it is going to pass this Bill.
Further more, Chowdhary Brahm Perkash Committee, then Mirdha Committee and then the Standing Committee had gone over this Bill. So, there are a very few contentious issues left; most of them have been sorted out.
19.24 hrs (Shri P.H. Pandiyan in the Chair)
That is another reason why all the Members have wholeheartedly supported it. But there are some apprehensions and some questions that have been raised. I will try to answer them.
Shri Shivraj Patil has initiated the debate and he raised many questions. Most Members have raised those questions and some other questions also. The first one is this. I would like to clear the misapprehension that Shri Patil has, that there is a restriction on having more than one cooperative with the same objective and with the same geographical area. That clause has been deleted and there is no restriction in having more than one cooperative in one area with the same objective. In fact, we want to encourage more cooperatives to come. In fact, if I may add, the Milk Reservation Order also has been removed by the Government so that more milk cooperatives can operate in the same geographical area.
Shri Shivraj Patil and some other Members have raised a question about the insurance cooperatives and the cooperative banks. Under the proposed Bill, the control of the Central Registrar of the Government is limited to registration of a society etc. A question was raised about the duality of control. So, in case of cooperative banks the Registrar’s authority is limited to the registration of a society, elections, audit and conduct of meetings, etc. Under the Banking Regulations Act of 1949, all the financial operations, the banking operations are regulated by the RBI. The RBI has also been given certain powers under the Multi-State Cooperative Act, that is the RBI can direct for amalgamation, division, winding up and suppression of the Board of Directors. Hence, RBI has got enough powers to regulate the cooperative banks, both under the BR Act as well as under this Multi-State Cooperative Act. So, the apprehension that the cooperative banks… (Interruptions)
SHRI AJIT SINGH: I know. That is why I am saying this. But the banks have to operate under the RBI, whether they are cooperative banks or schedule banks. Therefore, the Registrar’s action or control is very limited only because they are cooperatives. Since they are banks, they are to be regulated by the RBI. There is no getting away from that.
SHRI AJIT SINGH: Yes. With regard to the multi-State Cooperative Insurance Societies, hon. Member, Shri Shivraj Patil has said that there is a lot of scope for the cooperatives to go into that. So, the insurance societies can be registered as cooperative insurance societies after the Insurance Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill is passed. That Bill is still pending. At the moment the cooperatives are not allowed to undertake insurance business under the Insurance Regulatory Authority Act, 1999.
In fact, there are many multi-State cooperative banks operating. There are 31 of them which are urban cooperative banks and there is also one State Cooperative Bank in Goa which fall under the Multi-State Cooperatives Act.
SHRI AJIT SINGH: Under the Insurance Act they cannot act as the insurance cooperatives. Only when this Bill is passed, they can be registered as cooperatives. Maybe they are registered as societies.
Another big question which has been raised is about the reservation for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women. I would like to mention that the whole idea behind this Bill is to offer freedom to the cooperatives. Since the mutuality of the members will collectively decide the nature of the Board of Directors, introducing artificial restrictions as to the representation on the management of the cooperatives may not be desirable. I would also like to mention that many of these multi-State cooperatives would be institution-based and not individual-based. If you make the reservation, those institutions which will be represented by the Chairman or the President may not have the number of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe or women. So, it is not as simple as making reservations here.
I would also like to mention that Braham Perkash Committee did not recommend any reservation for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, women or OBCs in the management of the cooperative societies.
There may be co-operatives of women only or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes only. In fact, there are many women self-help groups being formed which may graduate and become co-operatives. So, putting any control over them and asking them what kind of directors they will have, would not be advisable. We are not prohibiting it. Any co-operative can have bylaws and could provide for any reservation which they want. All we are saying is that we are not going to impose it on them. But if the co-operative society is formed and if they want to have reservation, their bylaws can mention it and they can have the reservation done.
श्री अजित सिंह : रघुवंश प्रसाद जी, हम जिद पर नहीं अड़े हुए हैं। मैंने आपको एक तो प्रेक्टिकल समस्या यह बताई कि जो इंस्टीटयूशन बेस्ड मल्टी-स्टेट कोआपरेटिव्स हैं, जो फेडरेशन यहां पर अपेक्स बॉडी हैं, जिसकी मल्टी-स्टेट कोआपरेटिव है, उसके जो मेम्बर्स इंस्टीटयूशंस हैं, उनमें वोट उसके चेयरमैन का यहां पर होना है। अगर उसमें रिजर्वेशन नहीं है तो यहां रिजर्वेशन आप कैसे एनफोर्स करेंगे, एक तो यह प्रेक्टिकल प्रोबलम है। दूसरी यह है कि हम उन्हें मना नहीं कर रहे हैं, co-operative means people get together and decide what they want to do, how they want to do, and what kind of management they want. If you do not want any Government control and if we do not want any Government control, then let them decide. When they form a co-operative, let the bylaws mention that they want to have reservation for women or OBCs or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes or any other social group or any other economic group. They are free to do that. That is the reason, we are not imposing reservation. We are not imposing it. Moreover, some small co-operatives may be formed in a village where there are no Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or OBCs. Why do you want to impose that they have to have it? As I said, there may be co-operatives solely of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. So, people get together for a certain purpose and for a certain objective. We want them to decide what kind of membership they will have and what kind of management they will have. That is the only reason. As I said, they are free to have the bylaws to have reservation. They can co-opt two members and if the directors decide, they can co-opt any one as a director who are two in number.
SHRI AJIT SINGH: I am coming to that point because that point was raised by hon. Shri Deve Gowda also. There was an apprehension that there will be too many Government Directors. The Bill provides that there can be at the most three Government Directors and there cannot be more than one-third of the total number of Directors whichever is less. If the Government shareholding is more than 51 per cent, its interests have to be represented by the Government nominees. Even in such cases, they are restricted to a maximum of three. If the Government holding is between 26 per cent and 51 per cent, then the maximum is two and if it is less than 26 per cent, only one nominee can be there. Even otherwise also, there cannot be more than one-third of the total number of Directors. If there are six Directors and Government has 51 per cent shareholding, even then they cannot have more than two Directors. So, the apprehension that the Government nominees can dominate is not founded on facts. But if the Government has any shareholding that interest has to be represented by somebody and that is why this provision is there for having the Government nominees.
A mention was also made that we should change the Constitution so that this law can be applicable anywhere. We would like to do it by persuasion.
Recently there was a meeting of the Group of Ministers which was attended by seven Chief Ministers. They were very encouraging. Their resistance to change the cooperative laws seemed to be going away. Some hon. Members mentioned that the Brahm Parkash model law has not been enacted anywhere. I would like to mention that there are at least four States – Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka – which have enacted this law. I would like to compliment Bihar also which has a very good cooperative law. So, these States have already enacted the cooperative law. We would like to cajole and persuade other States also to do it. With so many States having done it, I am sure, persuasion is a better way of doing it. If you want to amend the Constitution for this purpose, that is something to be discussed in a different forum and not here.
We already have a National Policy on cooperatives which has been laid on the Table of the House and a Task Force has been formed to see how to implement this Policy and to make sure that the States do implement the model law.
Some questions were raised to know whether the Government’s nominee can be the chairman of a cooperative society or not. Shri Deve Gowda raised this question. There is no bar. Since they are always in a minority, there is no danger that the Government would be able to impose its chairperson. The Chairperson’s duties are not defined because it is up to the Directors or the decision making body to decide as to what functions they allow to their chairman or what powers they give him and what directions they give him. It is for the managing body to decide what specific jobs or powers they want to give to the chairman.
Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh was concerned about the Government not giving money to the cooperatives directly and why the States are supposed to interfere into it. That amendment to the NCDC is still pending here. When it comes up, it would answer most of the questions raised by him and the NCDC would be able to give money directly to the cooperatives without a State being there as an intermediary.
Some questions have also been raised about the disqualification of a Member. Some have praised it and some are against it. But the fact is that the problem that we have with cooperative in India today is that there are many members of cooperatives who do not even know that they are members. They are being manipulated as Shri Shivraj Patil said. They are made members, but they are not taking part in the activities of the cooperatives and that is leading to all kinds of malpractices in the cooperatives. That is why what we are saying is that if a member does not attend three consecutive general body meetings or if he does not carry out the objective of the cooperatives, which is to help its members, or if he does not avail of the minimum level of services of the cooperative societies for two years, then there is no point in having him as a member. These are the members who facilitate all sorts of malpractices in the cooperatives because they are not even aware that they are members. Even if they are aware of it, they do not know what they have to do in order to be the members; and what are their rights and duties. So, it is necessary to make sure that the cooperatives function properly. People who come together know for what purpose they are there and if they cannot participate in the functioning of the cooperatives, there is no point in being their’s as members.
We do not want a limited company where there are just shareholders; they are not active participants in the functioning of the company. Then there is no difference between a public limited company and a cooperative society. That is why this disqualification provision has been made.
The reason why a maximum of two consecutive terms have been fixed for a chairman is that this was there in the 1984 Act. It was done on the basis of the recommendation of the Chief Ministers. A meeting was also held here and they recommended this provision. One term used to be of three years maximum period earlier. Now we have raised it to five years. So, any Chairman can get up to ten years and the Government feels that it is enough time for any Chairman to run the cooperative as he wants.
By changing and discontinuing for a term, maybe a new thinking will come in and maybe other people will get a chance. It always helps in an organisation which has an intention of bringing up new thinking and new blood. Nobody should be able to manipulate it for personal profit. That is why, this provision has been retained. It was in 1984 Act. It was put in the suggestions of the meeting of the Conference of Chief Ministers. As I said, from six years, the maximum time has been made to ten years. And we feel that ten years is enough time for any person to mould a co-operative society the way he wants to mould and achieve the objectives that he wants to achieve for the members of the co-operative society.
Disqualification is there. We have already mentioned that. At the end, I would like to say that an amendment has been moved about increasing the number of Directors. For a management to be effective, the number should be small. If a very large number of Directors vests all the powers in the Chairman, then the Directors become ineffective. Only a small group can really discuss things and participate in the management. If you make a very large group, then they cannot really be effective in managing any group. And we feel that 21 is not too small a number and too large a number. That is why, that number has been put there. I would request the hon. Member to withdraw his amendment when the time comes to move his amendment.
As regards co-option, we have already provided for co-option. Basically, co-option of two members has been provided to get the technical expertise. In many of these small co-operatives, the Directors may not have the expertise or the management expertise. So, that provision has been made that they can co-opt two members who can provide technical input to the working of the co-operative societies.
I would once again thank all the hon. Members who have participated in the debate. There have been minor differences. But at this point of time, I would request that , for a bigger cause, this Bill may be passed. This Bill has already been delayed for many years, not days or months. Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh asked as to why it has not been enacted since 1991. But now, let us not delay it any further for whatever reason. There is no point in blaming others on why it got delayed and which multinational or which multiparty Government was delaying it. There have been many Governments in the last ten years that delayed it. But let us not delay it further. It may not be perfect. Most of the recommendations of the Standing Committee have been accepted. What Brahm Prakash Committee intended is part of the Bill. That is why, this Bill is here. I would request now to…
कृषि मंत्रालय में राज्य मंत्री (श्री हुक्मदेव नारायण यादव): इसको जल्दी से जल्दी पास कर दीजिये।
SHRI AJIT SINGH: My colleague has done the rest.
MR. CHAIRMAN : When you would move your amendment, you may speak.
डॉ. रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह :जब वोट हो जायेगा, पास ही नहीं होगा..
MR. CHAIRMAN: You have already participated in the discussion.
SHRI AJIT SINGH: Sir, I have answered all the queries…… (Interruptions)
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Minister has also replied.
डॉ. रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह :सभापति महोदय, चौ. ब्रहम प्रकाश कमेटी ने रिकमैंड नहीं किया, स्टैंडिंग कमेटी ने रिकमैंड नहीं किया और न राम निवास मिर्धा कमेटी ने रिकमेंड किया। दो टम्र्स से ज्यादा नहीं रहने के लिये किसी ने नहीं कहा। औरजिनल बिल में भी नहीं है। बाद मे अमेंडमेंट लाये हैं। इसके अंत में उनके अमेंडमेंट को खत्म करने के लिये हमारा सुझाव यह था कि रूल में यह प्रावधान होता कि...
MR. CHAIRMAN: You have already spoken that point.
डॉ. रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह :सभापति महोदय, काम ठीक नहीं होगा। दो टम्र्स में बंधन हो जायेगा और कोई अच्छा काम नहीं हो सकेगा।
"That the Bill to consolidate and amend the law relating to co-operative societies, with objects not confined to one State and serving the interests of members in more than one State, to facilitate the voluntary formation and democratic functioning of co-operatives as people’s institutions based on self-helf and mutual aid and to enable them to promote their economic and social betterment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, be taken into consideration." The motion was adopted.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Now, the House will take up clause by clause consideration of the Bill.
"That clause 2 stand part of the Bill".
The motion was adopted.
Clause 2 was added to the Bill.
Page 2, -- Definitions
omit lines 4 and 5. (4)
Page 2, --
omit lines 16 and 17. (5)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The motion was adopted.
Clause 3, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 4 to 6 were added to the Bill.
Page 4,-- Registrationomit lines 32 and 33. (6)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 7, as amended, stand part of the Bill".
The motion was adopted.
Clause 7, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 8 to 40 were added to the Bill.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri K.P. Singh Deo, are you moving your amendments?SHRI K.P. SINGH DEO (DENKANAL): Yes, I am moving the amendments.
Page 17, line 3, -- Board of Directors
substitute "thirty-one" (37)
Page 17, --
for lines 4 and 5 Board of Directors
substitute "Provided further that the board may co-opt four directors who shall be from SCs, STs, OBCs and Women, in addition to thirty-one directors specified in the first proviso. " (38) MR.CHAIRMAN: I shall now put amendment Nos. 37 and 38 moved by Shri K.P. Singh Deo to the vote of the House.
The amendments were put and negatived.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Ramdas Athawale, are you moving your amendments?SHRI RAMDAS ATHAWALE (PANDHARPUR): Yes, I am moving the amendments.
Page 17, line 3, -- Board of Directors
substitute "thirty-three" (39)
Page 17, --
For "Lines 4 and 5" Board of Directors
substitute "Provided further that the Board may co-opt 6 directors, out of which 3 will be from Scheduled Castes and one each from Scheduled Tribe, Other Backward Classes and Women in addition to thirty-three directors specified in the first Proviso." (40) MR. CHAIRMAN: I shall now put amendment Nos. 39 and 40 moved by Shri Ramdas Athawale to the vote of the House.
The amendments were put and negatived.
"That clause 41 stand part of the Bill".
The motion was adopted.
Clause 41 was added to the Bill.
Clauses 42 and 43 were added to the Bill.
Clause 44Prohibition to hold office of chairperson
or president or vice chair person or vice
President in certain cases
MR. CHAIRMAN: Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, are you moving your amendment?
मैं प्रस्ताव करता हूं -
कि श्री अजित सिंह द्वारा प्रस्तावित तथा संशोधनों की सूची संख्या १ के क्रमांक ७
"(2) बोर्ड का कोई सदस्य किसी बहुराज्य सहकारी सोसायटी के अध्यक्ष या प्रधान के रूप में निर्वाचित किए जाने के लिए पात्र नहीं होगा यदि उसने इस रूप में लगातार दो अवधियों के दौरान, चाहे सम्पूर्ण या भागरूप में, पदधारण किया है :
का लोप किया जाए। (३६) MR. CHAIRMAN: I shall now put amendment No. 36 moved by Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh to the vote of the House.
The amendment was put and negatived.
for lines 21 to 23, substitute – "Prohibition to hold office of chairperson or president or vice-chairperson or vice president in certain cases
44. (1) No member of a board shall be eligible to be elected as the chairperson or president or vice-chairperson or vice president of a multi-State co-operative society if such member is a Minister in the Central Government or a State Government.
(2) No member of a board shall be eligible to be elected as the chairperson or president of a multi-State co-operative society, after he has held the office as such during two consecutive terms, whether full or part:
Provided that a member who has ceased to hold the office of the chairperson or president continuously for one full term shall again be eligible for election to the office as such.
Explanation – Where any member holding the office of the chairperson or president at the commencement of this Act is again elected to that office after such commencement, he shall for the purpose of this section, be deemed to have held office for one term before such election." (7)
(Shri Ajit Singh)MR. CHAIRMAN: The question is:
"That clause 44, as amended, stand part of the Bill".
The motion was adopted.
Clause 44, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 45 to 69 were added to the Bill.
Amendment made: Appointment and remuneration
of auditorsPage 25, for lines 42 and 43, -- substitute
"Provided that such auditor or auditors may be appointed from a panel of auditors approved by the Central Registrar or from a panel of auditors, if any, prepared by the multi-State co-operative society." (8)
(Shri Ajit Singh) MR. CHAIRMAN (SHRI P.H. PANDIAN): The question is:
"That clause 70, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The motion was adopted.Clause 70, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 71 to 77 were added to the Bill.
Amendments made: Inquiry by Central Registrar
Page 29, line 49,--
substitute "one-fifth" (9)
Page 30, after line 2, insert--
"Provided that no inquiry under this sub-section shall be held unless a notice of not less than fifteen days has been given to the multi-State cooperative society." (10)(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 78, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The motion was adopted.
Clause 78, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Amendments made: Inspection of multi-state
Page 30, line 29,--
substitute "one-fifth" (11)
Page 30, line 31,--
substitute "make" (12)
Page 30, after line 32, insert,--
"Provided that no inspection under this sub-section shall be made unless a notice of not less than fifteen days has been given to the multi-State co-operative society." (13) (Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 79, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The motion was adopted.
Clause 79, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 80 to 83 were added to the Bill.
Amendments made: Reference of disputes
Page 32, line 18,--
for "referred to the Authority for decision"
substitute "referred to arbitration" (14)
Page 32, line 31,--
for "referred to the Authority"
substitute "referred to arbitration" (15)
Page 32, line 33,--
substitute "arbitrator" (16)
Page 32, after line 34, insert,--
"(4) Where a dispute has been referred to arbitration under sub-section (1), the same shall be settled or decided by the arbitrator to be appointed by the Central Registrar". (5) Save as otherwise provided under this Act, the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 shall apply to all arbitration under this Act as if the proceedings for arbitration were referred for settlement or decision under the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996." (17)
26 of 1996
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 84, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The motion was adopted.
Clause 84, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 85 to 102
"That clauses 85 to 102 stand part of the Bill."
The motion was negatived.MR. CHAIRMAN: Since clauses 85 to 102 were deleted from the Bill, the subsequent clauses may be re-numbered accordingly.
Amendments made: Limitation
Page 36, line 28,--
for "referred to the Authority"
substitute "referred to arbitration" (18)
Page 36, line 40,--
for "referred to the Authority"substitute "referred to arbitration" (19)
Page 36, line 41,--
substitute "arbitrator" (20)
Page 36, line 43,--
substitute "arbitrator" (21)
Page 36, line 45,--
substitute "arbitrator" (22)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 103, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The motion was adopted.
Clause 103, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 104 to 111 were added to the Bill.
Amendments made: Executive of decisions etc.
Page 39, line 37,--
omit "or the Authority" (23)
Page 39, line 47,--
omit "or the Authority" (24) (Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 112, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The motion was adopted.
Clause 112, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clause 113 was added to the Bill.
Clause 114Amendments made: Attachment before award
Page 40, line 9,--for "Authority"
substitute "arbitrator" (25)
Page 40, line 14,-
substitute "arbitrator" (26)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 114, as amended, stand part of the Bill." The motion was adopted.
Clause 114, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clause 115Amendments made: Central Registrar or Authority
Or person quthorised to be civil
Court for certain purposes.
for line 19, substitute—
"115. The Central Registrar or the arbitrator
or any person authorised by him in" (27)Page 40, line 22,--
omit "or it" (28)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 115, as amended, stand part of the Bill." The motion was adopted.
Clause 115, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 116 to 135 were added to the Bill.
Clause 136Amendments made: Indemnity
Page 46, line 40,--
omit "the Authority or" (29)
Page 46, line 41,--
omit "its or" (30)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 136, as amended, stand part of the Bill." The motion was adopted.
Clause 136, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 137 to 140 were added to the Bill.
Amendments made: Supersession of board of
Specified multi state
Page 47, line 33,--
for "141" substitute "140" (31)
Page 47, line 38,--
for "one year"
substitute "six months" (32)
Page 47, line 40,--
for "two years"
substitute "one year" (33)
Page 47, after line 40, insert--
`Provided that in the case of a cooperative bank, the provisions of this sub-section shall have effect as if for the words "one year", the words "two years" had been substituted.’(34)(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 141, as amended, stand part of the Bill." The motion was adopted.
Clause 141, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Amendment made: Power to make rules
Page 48, line 39,--
for "section 139"
substitute "section 39" (35)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 142, as amended, stand part of the Bill." The motion was adopted.
Clause 142, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Clauses 143 and 144 were added to the Bill.
The First Schedule and the Second Schedule were added to the Bill.
Clause 1Amendment made: Short title, extent and
Page 1, line 4,--
substitute 2002" (3)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That clause 1, as amended, stand part of the Bill." The motion was adopted.
Clause 1, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Amendment made: Enacting Formula
Page 1, line 1,--
for "Fifty-first Year"
substitute "Fifty-third Year" (2)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That the Enacting Formula, as amended, stand part of the Bill." The motion was adopted.
The Enacting Formula, as amended, was added to the Bill.
Amendment made: Long Title
That in the Long Title,--
for "social betterment"
substitute "Social betterment and to provide
functional autonomy". (1)
(Shri Ajit Singh)
"That the Title, as amended, stand part of the Bill. " The motion was adopted.
The Title, as amended, was added to the Bill.
"That the Bill, as amended, be passed."
"That the Bill, as amended, be passed."
The motion was adopted.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Now, shall we take up item no. 12?
THE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND MINISTER OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SHRI PRAMOD MAHAJAN): Mr. Chairman, Sir, the Opposition has cooperated with us to pass this Bill today itself. So, I leave it to them.
MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. We will take it up tomorrow.