BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to increase the viability of primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS) and diversify their business activities to make them vibrant economic entities at the panchayat level, the state government has asked the Cooperation department to identify potential PACS to be developed as multi-purpose cooperatives.
The first meeting of the newly-constituted state cooperative development committee (SCDC) chaired by chief secretary Pradeep Jena decided that the district cooperative development committee (DCDC) will select potential PACS and identify business activities to be taken up by each of them.
The model by-laws prepared by the Ministry of Cooperation and adopted by the state with some changes will enable PACS to undertake more than 25 business activities including dairy, fishery, setting up of godowns, procurement of food grains, sale of fertilisers, seeds, LPG, CNG, petrol and diesel.
While the primary activities of the PACS were short-term credit lending to farmers, it will now be allowed to do long-term credit lending business. The societies will also function as hiring centres, common service centres, fair price shops and community irrigation besides business correspondent activities. Currently, 492 PACS are in the network of common service centres, official sources said.
The Cooperation department has meanwhile prepared a list of 150 PACS for opening Jan Aushadhi Kendras under Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana. The process of identification of PACS to function as PM Kisan Samridhi Kendras is on.
As per the decision of the Centre, each uncovered gram panchayat will have a PACS or a primary dairy or fishery cooperative to generate employment opportunities. This will enable farmers to realise better prices for their products, expand the size of their markets and weave them seamlessly into the supply chain.
With 2,710 functional PACS in the state, the state government has created 1,503 new primary societies. Steps are being taken to reorganise the area of operation of the new PACS and affiliate them to respective district central cooperative banks (DCCBs).