As the Narendra Modi-led government gears up for its first Cabinet expansion since the 2019 elections, a new Ministry was created on Tuesday. In a historic move, a separate ‘Ministry of Co-operation’ was created to realise the government's vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’.
While it remains unclear as to who exactly will lead this new Ministry, the government is likely to appoint someone during Wednesday's Cabinet rejig. The creation of a separate Ministry for Cooperation also fulfils the budget announcement made by the Union Finance Minister.
But what exactly will this new department do?
According to a PIB press note, this ministry will provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country and will help deepen co-operatives as a true people based movement reaching up to the grassroots.
Since the announcement was made, numerous Ministers and other prominent individuals have hailed the move, emphasising the need for a co-operative based economic development model in India.
"Community driven enterprises and co-operative based economic development models are deeply imbibed in Indian system and a source of pride for their members. This ministry will provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement," explained Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
In simpler terms, this Ministry will work to simplify processes and ensure ease of doing business for cooperatives. It will also aid the development of multi-state cooperatives. By definition, a cooperative is a company that is owned and managed by the people who work in it. It can also be made up of several similar companies or organizations working together to meet common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations.
In India, the cooperative movement plays a crucial role in the agricultural, banking and housing sectors. Amul for example is an Indian dairy cooperative society that is managed by the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd and jointly owned by around 36 million milk producers in the western state.
With less than a day having passed since the formation of the new Ministry, there is not much clarity yet on how exactly it will function.