Though the State Government has passed the Cooperative Amendment Act, 2013, before February 15 this year as it was mandatory to comply with the 97th constitutional amendment, the Government has not yet been keen in implementing the provisions of the amendment Act.
This was a major constitutional amendment after the amendment made in 2001 and 2010. As per the guidelines of the RBI, Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) and other welfare societies have to delink their trading activities like medical stores, consumer stores, manure stores etc. If they want to continue the business they will have to constitute subsidiary societies and retain 50 percent of the shares with the parent societies. The rest could be divested. But so far not many societies have delinked their trading activities as has been outlined in the Amendment Act.
In case of credit societies, a risk fund has to be formulated. Subscribing to a deposit guarantee scheme is also mandatory for receiving deposits. Here, the cooperative department (government ) would act as the guarantor.
The new amended Act also make it mandatory to conduct elections to the societies at the ward level. However, it has been pointed out that not many societies have started conducting the elections complying with the provisions of the new Act.
The societies have to convene at least two general body meetings in a year. If the members remain absent for three consecutive general body meetings, they will be removed from membership. The auditing of each society has to be completed within one month after the conclusion of the fiscal and the financial statement has to be submitted to the Cooperative Department.
The Cooperative registrar has the powers to dissolve the director board of the society if it was not complying with the guidelines on auditing. The registrar also can appoint an administrator. Though the Amendment Act has come into force, many of the societies are not following the rules strictly.
When elections held to the Panachammoodu Service Cooperative Society, Vellarada, in Thiruvananthapuram district it was held on the old pattern instead of conductng at the ward basis.
The absence of clarity about the ward has been cited as the reason for following the old pattern. But Cooperative Department officials point out that if someone moves the court the election would be made invalidated. However, Cooperative Audit Director V Sanal kumar, who had served as Cooperative Registrar recently, told ‘Express’ that in spite of having passed the Amendment Act, the rules in this regard have yet to be passed.
‘’The rules have to be passed by the Assembly. Only after passing the Rules would the Amendment Act would fully come into effect,’’ he said.