July 6, 2018
New initiatives taken by the Cooperation Department in Bengal
The Bengal Government’s Cooperation Department has taken several initiatives to improve the reach of cooperative societies across the State by converting cooperative societies into banks, and introducing computerisation and modern banking services. Regular audits of cooperative societies are being conducted and special initiatives are being taken for increasing memberships of cooperative societies.
Overhauling rural cooperative system: The department has set a target of overhauling the entire rural cooperative system and mobilising deposits of about Rs 1 lakh crore in the next two to three years. As a result, cooperative banks and primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) will be able to contribute more effectively towards various Government schemes and extend loans to SHGs. They should be able to extend at least 50 per cent of the almost Rs 40,000 crore loan required annually for crop production and marketing.
Banking for the unbanked: The department has set a target of opening at least 75 cooperative bank branches in unbanked gram panchayats (GP) by the end of financial year 2018-19.
Modern banking: Modern banking facilities, viz., ATM, RTGS, NEFT, etc. are being provided at existing cooperative banks. Till now, 350 branches of West Bengal State Cooperative Bank (WBSCB) and Central Cooperative Bank (CCB) have already been CBS-enabled and 80 ATMs are in operation. Besides, mobile ATM services have also been introduced.
Assistance to PACS: An assistance of Rs 34.75 crore has been given for the computerisation of 2,780 primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACS).
New cold storage units: Construction of six cold storage units has been taken up, having a total capacity of 49,000 MT, which are likely to be completed during the current year.
Regular audit: Initiatives have been taken to conduct timely and regular audit of cooperative societies.
Increasing membership: Special initiatives have been taken to enhance the memberships of cooperative societies.
Samabay Bhavans: The State Government has decided to establish Samabay Bhavans in all the districts to accommodate all offices related to the Cooperation Department under one roof. So far, bhavans have been completed in Purba Bardhaman (Bardhaman), Paschim Bardhaman (Asansol), Bankura, Purulia, North 24 Parganas and Paschim Medinipur. Construction is going on in Malda.