Context: Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare unveiled the Sahakar Pragya initiative launched by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
- As part of the initiative, 18 regional training centres and 45 training modules for primary cooperatives were launched.
- The initiative aims at imparting knowledge and organisational skills to primary cooperative societies.
- The NCDC will run these training centres across the country.
- India boasts a huge network of over 8.5 lakh cooperative societies with about 290 million members.
- Nearly 94% of the farmers in India are members of at least one cooperative society.
- Cooperatives lend strength to farmers to minimize risks in agriculture and allied sectors and act as a shield against exploitation by unscrupulous traders.
- Sahakar Pragya is part of a series of initiatives taken up by NCDC to strengthen India’s cooperative societies.
- Earlier, the central body had launched the Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel with an aim to involve youngsters in the cooperative movement.
National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)
- It was established by an Act of Parliament in 1963 as a statutory Corporation under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
- Planning, promoting and financing programmes for production, processing, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, foodstuffs, certain other notified commodities e.g. fertilisers, insecticides, agricultural machinery, lac, soap, kerosene oil, textile, rubber etc.
- Supply of consumer goods and collection, processing, marketing, storage and export of minor forest produce through cooperatives, besides income-generating stream of activities such as poultry, dairy, fishery, sericulture, handloom etc.
- NCDC Act has been further amended which will broad-base the area of operation of the Corporation to assist different types of cooperatives and to expand its financial base.
- NCDC will now be able to finance projects in the rural industrial cooperative sectors and for certain notified services in rural areas like water conservation, irrigation and micro-irrigation, agri-insurance, agro-credit, rural sanitation, animal health, etc.
- Loans and grants are advanced to State Governments for financing primary and secondary level cooperative societies and direct to the national level and other societies having objects extending beyond one State.