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Issue Brief No.11

Cooperatives Need a Regenerative Movement More than a New Ministry

In the space of two weeks in July, two decisions resurrected the policy focus on cooperatives in India. The first, by the executive, was to constitute an independent Union Ministry of Cooperation (MoC). The second, by the judiciary, was a verdict of the Supreme Court of India declaring that cooperative societies as a subject matter belong “wholly and exclusively to the State legislatures to legislate upon”.

In this Issue Brief, H.S. Shylendra, Professor, Social Science Area, Institute of Rural Management (IRMA), Anand, draws out the legal and constitutional implications of these two developments, presents the relevance of a cooperative-based economy, and identifies the pathways for its success in the light of India’s experience with cooperatives and the prevailing political economy. The best prescription, he concludes, would be a movement, more than a ministry, to support India’s ailing cooperative sector proactively in diverse ways without hurting its autonomy.

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