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Centre holds consultations with 32 states/UTs on new central scheme to digitalise PACs | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday held a virtual consultation with 32 states and Union territories on a new central scheme to modernise and digitalise over 97,000 primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACs) spread across the country.
PACs, commonly known as agri-cooperative credit societies, are village-level lending institutions based on cooperative principles. They provide short- and medium-term loans to rural people to meet their financial requirements.
There are about 97,961 PACs across the country, out of which viable ones are about 65,000.
The meeting, chaired by Union Cooperation Secretary D K Singh, discussed in detail the proposed central scheme and sought suggestions from the states.
State cooperation secretaries and registrar of cooperation from 26 states and seven Union territories participated in the meeting.
“Many states welcomed the proposed scheme and said they were looking forward to it,” a senior official of the cooperation ministry, who was part of the meeting, told PTI.
The official said the consultation with states/ UTs was to get a sense of the required budget for the proposed scheme that is likely to be implemented initially in fully functional 63,000 PACs across the country for a period of three years from 2022.
Some states gave suggestions for the proposed scheme. For instance, the Telangana government emphasised on the need to educate members and senior management of PACs about the importance of computerisation.
The Dadar and Nagar Haveli government suggested that each PACs should have a unique identity number for better identification of PACs after geo-tagging, the official said.
This is the second meeting the Union cooperation ministry was holding with the states. The first meeting was held with only three states — Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Karnataka — to get a sense of PACs functioning.
Next, the ministry plans to hold a meeting with NABARD, which is going to be a coordinating agency for the modernisation of PACs under the proposed scheme, the official added.
Currently, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Telangana have fully computerised their PACs, while some states have done so partially. Certain states like Kerala have floated tenders for computerisation.
Back in 2017, the government had moved a proposal to computerise PACs with a budget outlay of Rs 1,950 crore. However, it could not get the cabinet clearance.
A new Ministry of Cooperation was formed in July this year to strengthen the cooperative movement. It is working on a new cooperative policy and some central schemes.



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