The greatest challenge to any civilized society is the economic deprivation it harbours, in league with social deprivation. It is inescapable that a collective war is waged to banish human deprivation from our midst. No other organized set up can be more potent for this attack than building human capital among the deprived, through sustainable cooperative Development Initiatives. Congruity with human nature further enhances the value of such initiatives. This principle is germane to the cooperative management in the Country and Karnataka in particular, which encompasses the basic human feeling of self-worth as its core. The cooperative strategy goes deep into the realms of building financial capabilities and self-confidence especially among the rural poor.
The Department of Co-operation is a vital Department of the Government of Karnataka. The Department functions in close co-operation and co-ordination with various other Departments connected with the implementation of socio-economic plans and schemes.
The Department of Co-operation overseas the administration and functioning of various Co-operative Institutions namely Textiles, Sericulture, Industries, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Sugar, Horticulture, Agriculture and Irrigation and also assist the societies financially besides providing technical guidance and input.
Hundred Years of Cooperative Movement
The Co-operative Movement in India took birth in 1904 by the enactment of Co-operative Societies Act 1904 and after making a long journey it has entered into the new millennium with lots of hopes and expectations.
Two movements in the last century had a cascading effect on the well being of the vast population of this country. The independence movement got India rid of foreign yoke. Soon it was realized that political freedom had no meaning unless the country enjoyed the fruits of sustained economic growth. Independence movement was the movement of the people. And so has been the cooperative movement.
Enshrined in both the movements had been the urge and aspirations of the teeming millions of India – small and marginal farmers, landless laborers, workers, members of the weaker sections of the community viz. handloom weavers, fishermen, artisans etc. who were otherwise steeped in poverty and deprived of the means and fruits of an economic upsurge for centuries. The post independence era witnessed the saga of human struggle not only to better the lot of the poor people but also to ensure equitable distribution of wealth and in this endeavour cooperatives had a crucial role to play. People from various classes assembled under the umbrella of cooperatives. Be it green (agriculture), white (dairy), yellow (poultry) and blue (fishery) revolutions, their success depended on the vast cooperative network spread in the nook and corner of the country. The age old institution of money lenders crumbled under the weight of credit cooperatives and banking institutions in rural and urban conglomerations. Spread of the movement in non-credit sector also followed in a big way.
Right from the fifties of the 20th century, the country charted its course of economic development and chose mixed economy as the means to attain the goals. Whereas public and private sectors were assigned specific roles., the cooperative movement which has not been designated as a distinct sector even today had to fight its own battle and carve out a niche for itself in the economy. State participation in the financial set up of cooperatives became an integral part of the deliberate policy of the Government to promote cooperatives. Agricultural development became a major plank of the government. Cooperatives were to support the massive programmes for increasing agriculture production and creating suitable post- harvest facilities. The wide network of credit movement was assisted by non-credit cooperatives in various areas of socio-economic activities.
There was mushroom growth of cooperatives in credit and non-credit areas. Both credit and non-credit cooperatives had various tiers extending from primary to national levels. There was massive diversification of cooperatives in all spheres of the economy be it primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. Today Cooperative Movement in India is the largest in the world. The movement has permeated all walks of life i.e., agriculture, horticulture, credit and banking, housing, agro-industries, rural electrification, irrigation, water harvesting, labour, weaker sections, dairy, consumers, public distribution system, tribals, international trade, exports, agri-business, human resource development, information technology.
Principles of Co-Operation
- Voluntary & Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons capable of using their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without discrimination on the basis of gender, social status, racial, political ideologies or religious consideration.
- Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and decision making. Elected representatives of these cooperatives are responsible and accountable to their members.
- Member's Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably and control the capital of their cooperative democratically. At least a part of the surplus arising out of the economic activity would be the common property of the cooperatives. The remaining surplus could be utilized benefiting the members in proportion to their shares in the cooperative.
- Autonomy & Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous self-help organizations controlled by their members. If cooperatives enter into agreement with other organizations including government or raise capital from external sources, they do so on the terms that ensure democratic control by members and maintenance of cooperative autonomy.
- Education,Training & Information
Cooperatives provide education and training to their members elected representatives and employees so that they can contribute effectively to the development of these institutions. They also make the general public, particularly young people and leaders aware of the nature and benefits of cooperation.
- Cooperation among cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through the available local, regional, national and international structure.