Multistakeholder Consultation on Cooperatives in India: Performance and Challenges
While India's economy is continuously growing, it is not percolating below to boost the small & micro economy that addresses its socio-economic challenges. Having realized this fact, the Govt of India has decided to accelerate the economic growth by promoting cooperatives, which according to Mahatma Gandhi, is "necessary for the creation of a socialistic society and complete decentralization of power." Therefore, Cooperatives are seen as one of the alternatives through which India can realize the nation's dream of becoming an inclusive economy and realise the vision of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. Cooperatives certainly have a futuristic role in fostering collectivism and preserving the social capital base of the country. Additionally, Cooperatives are the best instruments and channels to keep the spirit of collectivism and create decentralised economic growth engines, especially in rural India. An extensive network of cooperatives would assist in the creation and optimise utilization of the intrinsic social capital. The greater the social capital, the greater would be the opportunity for development. With this aim and objective, the Govt of India has very rightly created the Ministry of cooperation.
The revival of interest in cooperatives after creating the Ministry of Cooperation has initiated public consultations and dialogues. However, while much of these public discourses are required, developing a holistic understanding of the strengths and challenges to build the required critical mass that helps accelerate the moment becomes pertinent. It is also well accepted that though there are few successful cooperatives in the country, there is scope and opportunity for many more to reach a higher level of maturity and increase impact. Therefore, it becomes imperative to understand the challenges and undertake focused measures that can enable the transition for the country to benefit.