Our office is flooded with phone calls from persons working in the field projects of National Cooperative Union of India. They have not received salaries for last the 3-4 months and their future hangs in the balance.
Caught in the cross-fire of Agricultural Ministry’s babus and obstinate cooperative leaders these poor fellows do not know where to go, what to do. Indian Cooperative is also in no position to help them.
Ministry insists that without making suitable changes in the bye-laws (which would restrict the financial and executive powers of Governing Council and the President) NCUI could not qualify for further budgetary support. The Governing Council has resisted all attempts to arm-twist them so far.
A section in Ministry is of the opinion that the cooperative leaders should focus on policy matters and devise plans to strengthen the cooperative movement instead of getting involved in the daily nitty-gritty of the apex cooperative body. They accuse cooperative leaders of being too much involved with transfer, posting, recruitment and other basic affairs of the NCUI.
Some states are opposing the constitutional amendment fearing they would have to conduct elections in cooperative bodies of the state in which their “men’ have been at the helm, for example for 40 years in the case of Tamil Nadu.
NCUI’s top leaders should tour such opposing states and explain to the people and government the benefits of this amendment, they argue. Ministry also is of the opinion that if the Registrars of the cooperatives in states are made the head of field projects, their involvement would ensure its success. NCUI’s Governing Council members have been nominated as the heads of field projects till now.
NCUI has put a presentation before Ministry demanding Rs 500 crores for the next five-years. Ministry is insisting on changing the by-laws by 31st May. The Governing Council of NCUI is meeting on 24th May. Unless the cooperative leaders find a way out the future of field projects as well as that of NCUI would keep hanging in the balance.