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Amit Shah helms new co-operation ministry

New Delhi: The newly created Ministry of Co-operation will be headed by Home Minister Amit Shah, in sign of its strategic importance for the Narendra Modi government.

Amid buzz surrounding the creation of the Ministry, political observers are attaching the move to the broader objectives of the Modi government to revitalise the cooperative movement in the country ahead of the 2024 general elections, putting the lid on manipulative practices, empowering the farming community and steering the economy through multi-state cooperatives.

Cooperative movement is not new for India. There are examples of successful institutes and enterprises across agriculture, banking and housing that owe their genesis to cooperative model of development. Anand-based Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) that markets its dairy products under the popular Amul brand is a torch-bearer of this model.

The focus of the Ministry will be to foster the cooperative spirit across sectors with an eye on employment generation and socio-economic uplift of the vulnerable sections, besides facilitate cooperative models of growth in promising areas, observers said.

“The historic decision to set up the separate Ministry will help deepen Co-operatives as a true people based movement reaching up to the grassroots,” the Cabinet

Secretariat had said on July 6 while announcing the setting up of the Ministry.

The Ministry will work to streamline processes for ‘Ease of doing business’ for co-operatives and enable development of Multi-State Co-operatives (MSCS),” it underlined.

An indication about the Government’s intention about the upcoming Ministry was given by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. In her budget speech on February 2, she had said that the “Government is committed to the development of Multi-State Cooperatives…and to further streamline the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ for Cooperatives, I propose to set up a separate Administrative Structure for them.”