New Delhi: Ahead of cabinet reshuffle, the Modi government Tuesday announced the creation of a new Ministry of Cooperation. The ministry will provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country, a government statement said.
The ministry, the statement added, has been created by the Modi government for realising the vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’ (Prosperity through cooperatives).
There is no clarity as yet about the contours of the separate ministry except for the fact that it will work to streamline processes for ease of doing business for cooperatives and enable the development of multi-state cooperatives.
The government is likely to name a minister for the new ministry Wednesday when names of new inductees to the Modi cabinet are likely to be announced, sources said. The first reshuffle after the PM Modi-led NDA government started its second term in office two years ago is likely to be massive and could see over a dozen new faces being appointed as ministers, government sources said.
Ministry to strengthen cooperative movement
According to the government statement, the new ministry will help deepen cooperatives as a true people-based movement reaching upto the grassroots, the government statement said. “In our country, a Co-operative based economic development model is very relevant where each member works with a spirit of responsibility,” the statement said.
The central government, the statement added, has signaled its deep commitment to community-based developmental partnership. “Creation of a separate Ministry for Cooperation also fulfils the budget announcement made by the Finance Minister,” the statement said.
In her Union Budget address, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the Modi government is committed to the development of multi-state cooperatives and will provide all support to them. “To further streamline the ease of doing business for cooperatives, I propose to set up a separate administrative structure for them,” she had said.
The NGO Sahakar Bharati, whose founder member Satish Kashinath Marathe is a part-time director on the RBI board, says it was the first to pitch for the creation of a separate ministry for the cooperative sector.
Sahakar Bharati first demanded a separate ministry for the cooperative sector at the national level in February.
Soon after the government announcement, Marathe took to Twitter to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We #thank Hon PM @narendramodi ji for conceding our demand and hope it will now empower the CoOps to play a meaningful role in making Bharat #Atmanirbhar. #सहकारसे_समृद्धि_की_ओर,” he tweeted.
@Sahakar_Bharati was the first Organization to demand a separate #ministry for the #CoOp Sector.
We #thank Hon PM @narendramodi ji for conceding our demand and hope it will now empower the CoOps to play a meaningful role in making Bharat #Atmanirbhar.#सहकारसे_समृद्धि_की_ओर https://t.co/pcmJpguNQX
— Satish Marathe (@Satish_Marathe1) July 6, 2021
Several top BJP leaders and cabinet ministers also thanked Modi for creating a new ministry for the cooperative sector.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, “In another visionary step, PM @NarendraModi ji has created a new Ministry of Co-operation for realising the vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’. This will give a massive boost to co-operative movement and create a true people’s momentum for development.”
In another visionary step, PM @NarendraModi ji has created a new Ministry of Co-operation for realising the vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’. This will give a massive boost to co-operative movement and create a true people's momentum for development.https://t.co/Cts73UPMlz
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) July 6, 2021
Second ministry to be created during Modi govt 2.0
The Ministry of Cooperation is the second ministry to be created since 2019, after the Modi government came to power for the second time.
Soon after taking charge, the government had created the Jal Shakti ministry. However, it was not altogether new like the Ministry of Cooperation. It was created by integrating two existing ministries dealing with water — Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, and Drinking Water & Sanitation ministry.
This was in line with Modi’s mantra of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’, a promise made in both the 2014 and 2019 BJP manifestos.
Since 2014, there have been several recommendations from bureaucratic panels to merge ministries linked to the same sector. But not much has happened on that front till now.
During its first term, the Modi government had merged two ministries — urban development, and housing and urban poverty alleviation — and created housing and urban affairs ministry in 2017.
With the creation of the Ministry of Cooperation, there will now be a total of 41 central government ministries. Several of these ministries also have separate departments and organisations under them.