Kerala, The most prominent state for literacy and education is lagging behind in creating people friendly rules and laws. A vast majority of Kerala’s marketing and business sectors lies in the co-operative sector. But due to the mismanagement and lack of appropriate legal support, this sector is now facing some serious problem. In order to rectify these problems by implementing a parallel law, COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION (CDF), HYDERABAD along with CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH (CPPR), KOCHI conducted a workshop at Mariarani Center at Thiruvananthapuram on 8th & 9th of December 2007. The programme was intended to explore the possibilities of enacting the Liberal Co-operative Law in Kerala

Co-operative Development Foundation (CDF), Hyderabad, headed by Shri. Ramareddy, works on passing a parallel law called Liberal Cooperative Law in states where there are problems in the existing system. The proposed Law has implemented successfully in states like Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Jammu Kashmir, Uttranchal, Chathisghad, Bihar, Orissa etc.

The workshop was intended to rectify the present problems of cooperative sector, by closing the loop holes in the existing laws. Various experts working in co-operative sectors were invited to the workshop to share their views and opinions about this law.

The workshop started on 8th December 2007 at 12 PM with Lunch. About 25 delegates including prominent personalities, Director Board members of District and State co-operative banks, Politicians, faculties from different Colleges, participated in the afternoon session. After the welcome address by Shri. D.Dhanuraj, Chairman, Center for Public Policy Research, Shri. Ramareddy (President CDF) spoke about various aspects in the parallel law. He explained the possibilities of the law and the benefits of enacting this law. After tea break at 4:30 there was an Open Discussion on the pre-session. The participants from various co-operative fields shared their views and cleared the doubts. Some of the delegates were apprehensive of the possibilities of new law since they hold incommensurable political as well as economic modes of thinking. However the participants agreed that there is a need for altering the present system.

A Dinner Party and Media Meeting were arranged for Politicians, Media Personnel’s Academicians etc in night for the coverage of the programmes in media and exposing it to public. Chief Guest Mr. Vivekanandan, Spoke on the working of SIFS (Fisheries Co-operative) and the ways through which it became successful.

The sessions continued on the Second day (9th December 2007) and the workshop ended at 1 PM. Decisions was taken to follow-up the matters and forward these ideas to public.

The Major Topics Discussed in the Workshop are

  1. Importance of co-operative sector in the present economy, especially Kerala.
  2. Present Status and working of co-operatives in Kerala.
  3. Need of a revised or Parallel Law.
  4. Major Aspects of Self Reliant Co-operative Bill.
  5. Unregistered Cooperatives including four district cooperative Banks and their working
  6. Usage of the term ‘BANK’ and its relevance in present scenario.
  7. Registering a new cooperative for the same purpose in the working area of another Cooperative
  8. Conversion of a co-operative society into co-operative under the Act
  9. Training and Education of co-operative employees
  10. Case study of some co-operatives which was successful in the Act implemented States
  11. Debate on Cooperation vs. Competition.
  12. Follow ups and formation of a task force for regional and local workshops

Most of the delegates agreed that many of the co-operatives are not in a good financial position. There were oppositions from all the participants in most of the cases in the first day but later people accepted many changes. Interaction with Mr. Vivekanandan (SIFS), was a nice experience for all delegates as he shared his experience in forming SIFS. Decisions were taken for Follow ups and formation of a task force for regional and local workshops. The workshop was a good opportunity to open up the possibilities of the new law and paved a way to look at the problems faced by present co-operatives in Kerala.