Benefitting the society
As the local bodies elections are being held in Jammu and Kashmir the enthusiasm with which people are already speaking about it predicts a good participation of people in this democratic exercise.
Interestingly, Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing generous help from the centre as various sectors have found a mention in the budgetary allocations that have been announced during the current fiscal.
One such sector that needs lot of push and promotion is the co-operative sector that needs to be taken up for revival owing to the economic structuring that Jammu and Kashmir has been used to or promoting in the past.
Keeping in view the flow of benefits to the lowest level the government should plan a massive co-operative movement so that the benefit could percolate down to the lowest level and ensure that no major loses are suffered by the people involved in critical sectors like handicrafts and cottage based industry.
Co-operatives can have far reaching impact as they can provide answers to specific needs of underdeveloped areas like that of Kashmir. But the co-operative movement needs support from the development community to reach its potential.
There is strength in numbers and the co-op movement’s founding principles can benefit developmental work. The success of co-op movement in many parts of the globe remind us that co-operatives are much more than our local shop, or a troubled bank.
Co-operatives are a dynamic people centered business model operating successfully in more than 100 countries. Co-operatives come in all shapes and sizes and all sectors of the economy.
In developing countries 75% of fair trade products are from farmers’ co-operatives. In the 1950s and 60s, co-operatives, particularly in Africa, were seen as major players in development, loaded down with expectations, as well as government interference. As a result, many failed, and co-operatives were written off by most development agencies.
In recent decades, co-operatives have made a comeback. We know that co-operatives can and do make major contributions to millennium development goals. They can generate income for their members and also offer a range of benefits – depending on why they are set up.
The role of co-op movement getting secured recognition forced the world body, United Nations to announce 2016 as the year of UN International Year of Co-operatives. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation sees co-operatives as key to feeding the world; the International Labour Organisation as a way of organising in the informal economy.
However, the co-op movement has not been able to make its presence in Jammu and Kashmir. Take for an example the J&K State Cooperative Agriculture & Rural Development Bank (SCARDB).
This being just the tip of the iceberg, the co-operative movement can be easily termed as a failure in this part of the world. One reason can be attributed to the unrelenting interference by the previous political leadership and the fallout is there for everyone to observe.
However, with a renewed planning and thrust the co-operatives can be revived with success and involvement of the people. For this the ground level public representative bodies like Development Councils and Panchayats can also play a key role.
Panchayat bodies have been making inroads in our societies and they can offer maximum benefit for the co-operatives in the entire exercise is planned to obtain maximum benefits.