New Delhi [India] August 12 (ANI): Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Friday emphasised the need to formulate a five-year strategy for the Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS), a basic unit and smallest cooperative credit institution in India that works at the grassroots level.
Addressing the National Conference of Rural Co-operative Banks, the Minister said there are three lakh panchayats in the country and out of the total 95,000, there are 65,000 well-functioning PACS.
"Yet, there are about 2 lakh panchayats where PACS does not exist. The first task of all state and district co-operative banks should be to prepare a five-year strategy of PACS in every panchayat," Amit Shah said.
"Every district cooperative bank should make a five-year strategy of how PACS can be formed in its area, in every panchayat and in every state. The cooperative bank should monitor this strategy and NABARD should also confirm this strategy with its various schemes," he added.
After the formation of the Ministry of Cooperation, the Minister said that the first plan brought by the Government of India is that PACS should be computerized, and PACS, District and State Cooperative Banks should be linked online.
The Minister said "PACS has about 130 million members, out of which five crores of members take loans and PACS disburses loans of over Rs 2 lakh crores every year. If the number of PACS is five times, then it can distribute loans from 2 lakh crores to 10 lakh crores."
"We should aim for 10 lakh crore agricultural finance through cooperatives," Shah added.
Mentioning that a provision for sick PACS has also been suggested to the states in the bylaws, the Minister said "new PACS should be made by liquidating the sick PACS".
"The farmers of the village should not be deprived of the benefits of cooperative and the provision of making new PACS will also have to be made in the bylaws and cooperative laws of the states, then we will be able to reach three lakh PACS," Shah said.
Noting that PACS is the soul of the cooperative agricultural credit system, Shah mentioned computerization of PACS is being done to make it more transparent and empowered.
He said the computerization of PACS will automatically upgrade its human resource force, prudential norms of finance will be automatically applied in PACS, all audit arrangements will be automatically integrated into the accounting system and alerts will be started automatically.
"Computerization can be successful only when District Cooperative Banks work to bring it to the bottom," said the Minister.
The Cooperation Minister also said that "we will have to increase the scope of PACS, and efforts will have to be made to bring more and more farmers under the purview of PACS".
"PACS even today do the work of finance by keeping a human approach towards the farmers. The farmer of this country needs finance done with a human approach," Shah said.
The Minister said that along with strengthening the agricultural credit framework, there is a need to improve it and to work on cooperatives to reach every sector and get agricultural credit only through this.
"Today Narendra Modi Ji is the Prime Minister of the country and there can be no better time than this to expand the cooperative sector and make it prosperous."
Pointing out that the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to take the economy to the last person of the society, Shah said, "For this, there is no other way except cooperatives."
The Minister said that there are about 8.5 lakh cooperative societies in the country, out of which there are 1,78,000 different types of credit societies.
In the field of agricultural credit, the Minister said "There are 34 State Co-operative Banks with more than 2,000 branches, 351 District Co-operative Banks with 14 thousand branches and about 95 thousand PACS," he said.
Adding he said, "If we look at all these together, then it comes to know that our ancestors have given us a strong base. And on this foundation, there should be our resolve to build a strong building in the year of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav." (ANI)