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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC

Co-op societies not bound by RTI Act

Syllabus - Polity and Governance [GS Paper-2]

Context

The Madras High Court has recently held that the cooperative societies in the state are not bound by the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 to provide information to the citizens on their functions as they are not falling under public authority.

About 

  • The Madras High Court has set apart an order passed by Tamil Nadu Information Commission (TNIC) directing a cooperative society to disclose info regarding the loans prolonged by it.
  • The court ruled that  Cooperative societies registered under the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies Act of 1983 inside the State might no longer fall under the definition of the term ‘public authority’ because it had been defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act of 2005.

About Cooperative society

  • It is a voluntary affiliation of individuals having common desires who join hands for the achievement of common economic,social and cultural interests.
  • India’s cooperative movement originated within the agriculture and related sectors as a way for farmers to pool their resources to prevent exploitation through money creditors. 
  • India’s cooperative movement was formalised at the cease of the 19th century, inspired by the German model of agricultural credit banks.
  • Cooperatives in India range from those supplying credit to those producing, procuring, or advertising products like fertilisers, milk, sugar, and fish. 

Constitutional provisions 

  • ‘Cooperative Societies’ is a State Subject.
  • The 97th constitutional change, Part IXB (The Co-Operative Societies) was inserted into the Constitution.
  • The proper to form cooperative societies become included as Right to Freedom under article 19 (1), Part-3 of the Constitution.
  • In addition to this, Article 43-B (Promotion of Cooperation societies) was also inserted as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy under Part four of the Constitution of India.
  • Article 43B says that “states shall endeavour to sell voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of cooperative societies”.

Issues 

  •  Government and legislative manage of cooperatives elevated over time, there have been increasing reviews of mismanagement and corruption
  • State governments, “in the name of public interest,” without delay interfere in the running of cooperatives .
  • Cooperative societies have struggled to achieve success and are financially feasible and the cooperative movement remains inconsistently unfolding in the country.
  • Many cooperative societies do not maintain elections often, even as some are outmoded frequently. 

Related Steps 

  •  Multi-State Cooperative Societies (MSCS) have been formed to ease the operation of collectives throughout the united states of america. 
  • The Multi-State Cooperative Societies (MSCS) (Amendment) Act & Rules, 2023 have been notified to bolster governance, beautify transparency, increase responsibility and reform electoral processes, and many others.
  • Ministry of Cooperation was created by transferring the existing entries related to cooperation and cooperative in the enterprise of the erstwhile Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare vide Cabinet Secretariat’s Gazette Notification dated 6th July, 2021.
  • The most important sports of the Ministry consist of streamlining methods for ‘Ease of doing commercial enterprise’ for co-operatives and enabling development of Multi-State Co-operative Societies.

Conclusion and Way Forward 

  • Cooperatives have made large contributions in poverty relief, meals protection, management of natural assets and the surroundings. 
  • Therefore ,The unbiased and self sufficient person of cooperative societies was vital to their functioning.
  • The cooperative movement genuinely needs reform and revitalisation. 

Source: The Indian Express

UPSC Mains Practice Question

Q. Cooperative sector’s immense transformative power has not been optimally realised so far. In the light of the statement suggest measures to fully utilise the sector’s potential. (250 Words)

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