Monday, February 18, 2008

Cooperative organizations in Kerala

2.1 A brief history of cooperatives.
The cooperative movement began in Europe in the 19th century, primarily in England and France. The industrial revolution and the increasing mechanization of the economy transformed society and threatened the livelihoods of many workers. Robert Owen (1771–1858) is considered the father of the cooperative movement. Owen believed in putting his workers in a good environment with access to education for themselves and their children. These ideas were put into effect successfully in the cotton mills of New Lanark, Scotland. It was here that the first co-operative store was opened. Spurred on by the success of this, he had the idea of forming "villages of co-operation" where workers would drag themselves out of poverty by growing their own food, making their own clothes and ultimately becoming self-governing

2.2 Cooperative societies in Kerala
The people of Kerala have continued to confirm their faith in the cooperative movement bringing it to the forefront of Indian States in terms of the average membership in primary cooperatives; average deposits and average credit availed from these societies. Data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for 2005 showed that Kerala had a total of 1.11 crore members in its 1,628 primary cooperative agriculture credit societies. There are a total of 1, 08,603 primary cooperative societies in the country. In Kerala, the number of people employed in primary cooperative societies is 18,968. The total volume of deposits in the primary cooperative agriculture credit societies in the country is a little over Rs. 20000 crore and Kerala, accounting for an average deposit of Rs. 5 crore per society, is on top of the Indian states. The national average for deposits in the primary cooperative societies is Rs.20 lakh.
Co-operative institutions provide a self-reliant and self-regulated institutional framework for the social and economic development of the society. The strong finances of the primary co-operative banks, adherence to democratic principles, and uniqueness of co-operative ventures initiated and the success of co-operative enterprises such as the Kerala Dinesh Beedi, Indian coffee house and Rubco led to entry of cooperative movement into each and every sector of life in Kerala. Now cooperatives have presence in the field of education, hospitals, medical colleges, water theme parks etc. Attempts at revitalizing and strengthening of the co-operatives have seen the State Government pump in substantial funds in ventures such as agro-processing, upliftment of women and the weaker sections of the community, promotion of self-help groups and establishment of fair price networks such as the Neethi Stores.
The State Government passed the Kerala Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Act, 1999, which came into force from January 1, 2000. The Act has provided for a number of schemes such as providing membership to local body institutions, deposit guarantee to primary agricultural credit societies, consortium lending, a co-operative development and welfare fund, an independent election commission, an independent audit wing, a vigilance wing and a co-operative examination board. Institute of cooperative management, Poojappura, Thiruvanandapuram, is giving in-service training to employees in the latest developments. There is one district cooperative bank each in every revenue districts of Kerala.

2.3 The Thrissur District Cooperative Bank Ltd

The Thrissur District Co-operative bank ltd. No.60 was registered as the Cochin Central Cooperative Bank Ltd, on 29/06/1918. It started functioning on 19/11/1918 as the apex bank of the erstwhile Cochin state with 39 affiliated societies and a paid up capital of Rs.2,795/-.The first board of directors of the bank was constituted on 15/07/1918 under the leadership of Manakkulam kunjunni raja. Shri. Kunjunni raja was the first president and sri. V.K.Varkey was the first secretary. In 1954, when cochin and Travancore States were amalgamated, the then Travancore Central Co-operative Bank was granted the status of Apex Bank and the Cochin Central Co-operative Bank was affiliated as District Co-operative Bank. Subsequently a branch was opened at Ernakulam on 1st December 1954.Later, in 1961 the area of operation of the Bank was restricted to Thrissur Revenue District and the Bank was renamed as Thrissur District CO-operative Bank. This was done after the re-organisation of Co-operative Banks on the basis of Revenue District. Till 1978, the bank extended finance only through Primary Co-operatives and in 1978, and then it started direct finance to individuals. Now the bank functions with its registered office at Thrissur and extends its operation to the whole Revenue District through 48 branches. Their head quarter is situated in the newly constructed “Sahakarana Sathabdhi Mandiram”, at Kovilakathumpadam, near North bus stand of Thrissur town. It is governed by an elected director board. The general manager of the bank is a professionally qualified person. The present President is Sri.T.U.Udayan and Sri. M. Ramanunny is the Chief Executive (General manager).There are three deputy general managers under the GM. The employees of the bank are recruited by a recruitment board constituted by state government for this purpose.