The Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022

The Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022

Recently, the Lok Sabha has passed the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The Bill seeks to amend the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002.

The main objective of this bill is to strengthen governance, enhance transparency, fix accountability and improve electoral processes in multi-state cooperatives.

Key provisions of the amendment bill-

  • Co-operative Election Authority (CEA): The Central Government will set up the Co-operative Election Authority (CEA) to conduct, supervise, direct and control the election process of Multi-State Co-operative Societies (MSCS).
  • Integration of Cooperative Societies: The bill introduced allows state cooperative societies to merge with existing MSCS.
  • At least two-thirds of the members of the co-operative society present and voting at a general meeting shall pass a resolution permitting such merger.
  • Fund for Sick Cooperative Societies: Cooperative Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development Fund (CRRDF) has been started for revival of sick cooperative societies. MSCS which are in profit for the last three financial years will fund the fund.
  • Restrictions on redemption of government shareholding: No shares held by the Central and State Governments in MSCS can be redeemed without their prior approval.
  • Redressal of Grievances: The Center is made in respect of the members of MSCS. Appoint one or more Cooperative Ombudsman in the territorial jurisdiction to inquire into the complaints and complete the process within 3 months.

Cooperative Movement in India:

  • Cooperative movement in India is about 115 years old, and this movement has given many important enterprises to the country which are giving employment to lakhs of people today, like Amul, Kribhco, IFFCO.
  • Co-operative societies are a state subject under the Constitution, that is, they come under the jurisdiction of state governments, but there are many societies whose members and areas of operation are spread over more than one state. For example, most sugar mills in districts on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border buy sugarcane from both the states.
  • The current law – the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act (MSCS) 2002 – was enacted by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government to manage multi-state co-operative societies.
  • Cooperative societies of more than one state are registered under the MSCS Act. Their board of directors has representation from all the states where they operate.
  • Earlier, Co-operation was a department under the Ministry of Agriculture. However, on 6 July 2021, the government formed a separate cooperative ministry and Amit Shah became the country’s first cooperative minister. Soon after taking charge of the ministry, he announced a new National Cooperative Policy.

Co-operative Societies in the Constitution:

  • The Constitution (97th Amendment Act), 2011 makes provisions for cooperative societies in India.
  • The amendment provided legal status and protection to cooperatives. Part IXB was added to the Constitution through this amendment.

Source – PIB

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