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NCUI Organises Zonal Conference for Cooperative Development in North-East

National Cooperative Union of India in association with Assam State Cooperative Union organised a Zonal Conference for Cooperative Development on North-East in Guwahati on 28th January, 2014. The objective of the Conference was to discuss the issues, and challenges before the cooperative movement in North-Eastern States, and prepare a viable action-strategy, considering the fact that the cooperative sector is lagging behind other states in the field of cooperative development. Around 180 representatives from the cooperative sector, government agencies, NCDC, State Cooperative Departments, ICM, Guwahati, etc. were present on the occasion. The Chairmen/CEOs of Cooperative Union of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, etc. were present on the occasion.

Inaugurating the Conference, Siddique Ahmed, Cooperative Minister, Government of Assam said that the Government of Assam has undertaken several steps to strengthen cooperative movement in Assam. He said that the Assam Government has taken a definite step to professionalise cooperative education and training in the State through setting up of Cooperative University in Guwahati. He also pointed out that the Cooperative Act in Assam has been amended in line with the spirit of Constitutional Amendment Act. He said that the Sate Government has been financially supporting sugar, weaving and artisans cooperatives in the State. He also informed that the State Government has initiated a Micro Finance Scheme to promote Self-Help Groups in the State. In his initial part of the address, he re-called the vision of Nehru, who wanted to convulse India with cooperatives.

Shri V.K. Pipersenia, IAS, Addl. Chief Secretary, Govt. of Assam speaking on the occasion said that Cooperative Business Management as a specific discipline should emerge in the country to attract the youth to the concept of cooperatives, as the present management education in the country is too commercial in orientation. He lamented over poor state of cooperative education and training in the State, due to which the cooperative movement is lagging behind. He called for more students to enroll in the management courses run by Cooperative University in Assam, which he felt may emerge as a cooperative centre of excellence after 5 years. He also emphasised on the need for training of members, employees, office-bearers, regulators, potential educators in an integrated manner so that cooperatives are successful.

Dr. Chandra Pal Singh, President, NCUI in his Presidential Address called for more government support in strengthening cooperative education and training in the country, and he lamented over the fact that the budget every year ignores the cooperative sector. Pointing out the good work of NCUI cooperative Education Field Project for Manipur, he said that there is more need for women to be connected with the cooperative movement, so that cooperative awareness can be created in a big way. He called for popularizing cooperative model in the schools.

Dr. Bijender Singh, President, NAFSCOB, in his address said that the cooperative sector is the nest medium for the welfare of the poor and down-trodden sections of the society. Kiran Kakati, President, Assam State Cooperative Union, and Member, Governing Council, NCUI emphasised on the need for more cooperative awareness programmes in North-Eastern states so as to strengthen cooperative sector in the Region.

The representatives of various State Cooperative Unions came up with their presentation on status of cooperative sector in their respective states. Various recommendations emerged after the Conference. Some of the major ones are; Formulating Cooperative Policy for North-Eastern States; NCUI may take in-depth studies of each state to find out whether Cooperative Acts and Rules are in accordance with Coop Principles. More JCTs should be set up in North-East, and NCUI should more financially support JCTs. To establish strong networking among cooperatives in the region for balanced coop development. NCDC may be approached for projects which will enhance business development of cooperatives in North-Eastern Region, promotion of coop eco-tourism in North-East. Seeking financial support from various quarters, including NCUI to strengthen coop training infrastructure in the states.