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Cooperative movement? A long history in India

by Mukesh Doot 4 year(s) ago

It may be surprising for many to know that the first law to govern cooperative societies was enacted in India in 1904. The law was called the Cooperative Credit Societies Act, 1904. It is obvious the cooperative business was in practice a much before this law came into being. The necessity for the act was felt due to the large popularity of cooperatives in the first place.

So, what kind of cooperative societies were in India before the Independence? The answer to this question is quite obvious. The cooperative movement in India owes its origin to agriculture and allied sectors. The financial condition of farmers was not good. So pooling resources and using them collectively seemed like a natural choice to them. It solved their common problems related to credit and marketing of agriculture products.

As the cooperatives became more diversified, another law named the Cooperative Societies Act and with it was created the post of registrar, cooperative societies in India. Since then the registrar is the office governing all cooperative societies in India.

Today, cooperatives are governed by states in most cases. This system was also the product of the pre-independence era. Under the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919, cooperation became a provincial subject and the provinces were authorised to make their own cooperative laws. Under the Government of India Act, 1935, cooperatives were treated as a provincial subject. In order to cover Cooperative Societies with membership from more than one province, the Government of India enacted the Multi-Unit Cooperative Societies Act, 1942.

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