The Ernakulam District Cooperative Bank (EDCB) is all set to host the 52nd annual general body and budget for the new fiscal on March 23, said N P Paulose, district president of the DCB.
“We are presenting a budget with an approximate profit of Rs 46 crore. The expected annual expenditure for the new fiscal is Rs 455 crore and the income expected is Rs 501.12 crore,” Paulose said.
The budget is said to creatively focus on rejuvenating agriculture in the district as well as financing related small-scale industries which are coming up with Kochi Metro, Smart City and container terminal.
The budget is significant for the administration for two reasons. Firstly, all cooperative financial institutions in Kerala and elsewhere are working in the hostile political economy climate in the context of the Prakash Bakshi committee recommendation on streamlining of short term co-operative credit structure. Bakshi report is said to damage the democratic functioning and autonomy of cooperative institutions.
Secondly, the UDF has wrested control of the DCB from the LDF after a long Left rule, which was fairly well appreciated for a strong and transparent governance.
“We know that all cooperative institutions are facing unprecedented challenges. People have a lot of expectations on EDCB, since it is considered as the best functioning DCB in Kerala. Our policies will be always beyond narrow political considerations. In fact, we are planning joint protests against Bakshi report recommendations with Left parties. A joint struggle by all democratic forces is important to safeguard cooperative sector in the country,” he said.
In the policy level, N P Paulose said that the administration will continue with the ongoing pro-people projects. “Right now we are visiting all branches of the DCB. All branches and employees were given specific targets. We are currently scrutinising their performance,” he said.
Paulose said the DCB will finance small-scale projects initiated by self help groups. “We will give special emphasis to initiatives by self-help groups. This can be in agriculture, agriculture-related industries and so on. For example, we are ready to finance group farming in paddy as well as small-scale industries emanating from pineapple farmers. Dairy projects will also have special consideration. Apart from the ongoing projects, we have earmarked Rs 10 crores and Rs 10 lakh for rural development,” he said. Projects initiated by women are also in the top priority list for financial funding. The DCB is planning to open an all women bank branch in the city in the next fiscal.
“The massive infrastructure projects like Smart City, Kochi Metro and container terminal projects need related industries. Our strategy and policy will be to finance genuine projects for this related industries. This will boost the economic health of the district,” he said.