Maharashtra won't be hit by new Ministry of Co-operation, says NCP chief Sharad Pawar

The NCP president Sharad Pawar has categorically stated that the cooperative movement in Maharashtra will not be affected by the formation of a new Central ministry headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Pawar said on Sunday, the Centre could not interfere in the functioning of the cooperative sector of the state.

“All the cooperative societies in the state are governed by the Maharashtra State Cooperative Act. Laws are passed in the state legislature. Under this Act, the state government has the right to frame policies and enforce them in the sector,” he noted. “The rules of the Central and state governments are well-demarcated. They cannot interfere in each other’s jurisdiction. The Centre’s role is restricted to multi-state cooperative banks. I have been coming across reports citing how the creation of a separate cooperation ministry was solely to undermine or regulate state cooperatives. But all these assumptions are baseless,” Pawar said.

He reiterated that reports of the creation of cooperation ministry creating problems in Maharashtra are not factually correct as the matter constitutionally belongs to the state government. The Centre steps in only in the case of multi-state institutions, run in two states.

Pawar said the cooperation ministry was not a new concept brought forward by the Central government. “I was the Union minister for agriculture for ten years in the UPA government. The cooperation department was under the agriculture ministry then”, he noted.

Pawar’s statement is important, especially when the NCP and Congress continue to have a hold on close to three lakh cooperative institutions, including the state cooperative bank, district central cooperative banks, sugar factories, milk dairies and cotton spinning mills. Besides, despite the BJP’s move to consolidate its presence, the NCP and Congress have been able to retain their dominant position in 20,000-plus primary agricultural cooperative societies.

Pawar’s comment follows in the wake of the BJP urging Shah to order a probe into the leasing of a sugar factory to a company with links to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and 30 more such factories, for alleged irregularities.

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