THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Paving the way for the formation of the Kerala Cooperative Bank(KCB), the Assembly on Tuesday passed the Bill amending the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act. The Bill was passed to complete the merger proceedings of the state’s 14 District Cooperative Banks (DCB) to constitute KCB, one of the state’s largest banks, before the RBI-stipulated deadline of March 31.
Presenting the Bill, Cooperation Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the final approval for the merger, amendment of Acts and changing the name of ‘District Cooperative bank’ had to be obtained from RBI. Adherence to the Cooperative Act was among the 19 conditions put forward by RBI while giving in-principle approval for the KCB proposal.
KCB will be formed by merging the State Cooperative Bank (SCB) and 14 DCBs. The Amendment Bill envisages a two-tier cooperative system with the KCB at the centre and Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) as an autonomous node.
The Cooperation Department is moving ahead on a war footing to fulfil all of RBI’s conditions before the deadline. The merger document has been prepared and the work study for the HR policy of the new bank is over.
The RFP (request for proposal) document was prepared to appoint an agency to develop the integrated IT platform for KCB and PACS. Balance-sheets have been prepared for the 15 entities after concurrent auditing and chartered accountant’s auditing. Surendran said the government will fulfil all of RBI’s conditions before the deadline.
Earlier, five dissenting UDF-controlled DCBs – Malappuram, Idukki, Kottayam, Wayanad and Kasargod – could not join the process as the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act mandated a two-thirds majority from individual DCB general bodies for mergers and acquisitions. A merger of around 823 branches of 14 DCBs and the State Cooperative Bank is expected by the deadline. Initially, KCB’s capital is expected to be around Rs 2,000 crore.
‘Excise has intensified drive to curb drug menace’
T’Puram: Minister for Labour and Excise TP Ramakrishnan informed the Assembly that the department has intensified its enforcement activities in the state following information that peddlers are drawing children to use drugs and also to curb the use of new drugs including MDMA. The government will take strict actions against those individuals who will be found selling drugs to school students.
“Though we could seize a huge quantity of drugs, many youths have already fallen prey to drug abuse. The mafia gets them addicted to drugs through free supply. A big network is active in the state to lure students to drugs,” said the minister. Denying V T Balram’s statements the minister said that though the incidents are high in Kerala, it has not turned into a haven for drugs as alleged by the Opposition.
Squad to curb the menace
In a wake to curb the menace of illicit liquor and drugs among tribespeople in some districts, the government has set up a Janamaitri excise squad at Nilambur in Malappuram and Devikulam in Idukki, similar to the one at Palakkad and Wayanad. The minister said that the government had set up such excise stations to curb the menace of illicit liquor in tribal hamlets effectively.