The Ministry of Cooperation on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, NABARD and CSC e-Governance Services India Limited to enable Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) to provide services offered by Common Service Centers.
As per the MoU, which was signed in presence of Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah here in the national capital, PACS will now be able to function as Common Service Centres, along with this, more than 300 services will be made available to the rural population including 13 crore farmer members of PACS.
Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnalav, Minister of State for Cooperation BL Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Cooperation and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, senior officials of Ministry of Cooperation, NABARD and NCDC were also present on occasion.
In his address, the Union Home and Cooperation Minister said the move will "increase the business activities of PACS and help them to become self-sustaining economic entities".
"With this initiative, PACS will be able to provide all the services listed on the Digital Seva Portal of the CSC scheme to citizens, including banking, insurance, Aadhaar enrolment/update, legal services, agri-inputs like farm equipment, PAN card, IRCTC, Rail, Bus, and Air ticket related services," he said.
Shah said that the national software being developed under the ongoing Centrally-Sponsored Scheme of PACS computerization will also be used for PACS to function as CSCs, which will be a big achievement.
Amit Shah also stressed on the role and contribution of PACS in rural and agricultural development, and said making them multipurpose as providers of about 20 services will increase employment opportunities in rural areas.
Describing this agreement as a win-win situation for all, Shah said that this will not only help in fulfilling Prime Minister Modi's dream of 'Sahkar Se Samridhi' and making cooperatives the backbone of rural development, but will also strengthen both cooperatives and farmers.
Shah said that this would help in advancing the concept of Common Service Centres (CSC) to the smallest unit of the country very easily.
The Minister further said that about 50 per cent of the country's population is associated with cooperatives in one way or another other and keeping in view the development of such a large sector, Prime Minister Modi had taken a historic decision to create a separate Ministry of Cooperation.
He said that making PACS viable was the biggest problem in front of the cooperative sector, and today a new beginning has been made by adding many new dimensions to the functioning of PACS.
Shah added that PACS will now be able to undertake 20 different activities including water distribution, storage, and Bank Mitra.
He said that the first and foremost task is to make the services provided by the Common Service Centres available to the rural population through PACS.
The Minister said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi in this year's budget, many important announcements have been made for the cooperative sector.
A provision has been made in this year's budget to make two lakh PACS in the next five years and create a multi-purpose PACS in every Panchayat. Apart from this, the foundation of the world's largest grain storage scheme has also been laid in the budget for the cooperative sector, he said.
Shah said that the creation of a national database for the cooperative sector is 70 per cent completed.
"Apart from this, model bye-laws have been prepared and sent to all the states after discussing with all the stakeholders," he added. (ANI)