Making a strong case for the revival of the cooperative sector in the country, Reserve Bank of India Director Satish Marathe said that increasing minimum support price of agriculture produce alone will not improve the plight of the farming community.
The cooperative sector, he added, was essential to improve food processing industry and ensure that the farmers get the due price of their produce.
“We only process 20 percent of the farm produce, while in developed countries and in South East Asian nations as much as 80 percent of the agriculture products are processed,” he said, adding that “increasing in MSP alone will not improve a lot of farmers. We need to encourage cooperative sector. Reactivate rural cooperatives”.
Marathe said this while delivering the second SopanStep Development Lecture on ‘Reforms in cooperatives, imperative to spread rural prosperity’ here on Saturday.
Patron of Sahakar Bharathi was appointed as a part-time director on the board of the RBI last month along with S Gurumurthy, co-convenor of RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch.
Marathe further said that efforts were needed to persuade the Centre as well as state governments to amend all laws and rules in line with the 97th Constitutional Amendment, which, besides other things, made the right to form cooperative a fundamental right.
The 97th Constitutional Amendment was aimed at freeing cooperatives from bureaucratic control and ensuring democratic and autonomous functioning through regular elections.
One of the big problems being faced by the cooperative sector is lack of data, Marathe said, adding “one does not know the contribution of the cooperative sector to the GDP. This data is not there with Central Statistics Office (CSO)”.