April 2017
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District Cooperative Banks dissolved
(Thiruvananthapuram, Apr, 11,2017):The government has promulgated an ordinance to restructure the management of District Cooperative Banks (DCBs), with the voting right membership limited to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) and urban cooperative banks.

With Governor P. Sathasivam giving his assent to the ordinance on Monday, the board of directors of all DCBs in Kerala has ceased to exist, drawing heavy fire from Opposition parties which see it as an attempt by the CPI(M) to capture administrative control of the banks.

To avoid an administrative crisis, the ordinance empowers the Registrar of Cooperatives to appoint an administrator or administrative committee for DCBs for a period of one year.

Briefing the media on the decision of the Cabinet meeting held on Monday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the restructuring exercise would give priority for PACS and create an apex body for farm cooperatives, helping the State to tide over the crisis in the agricultural sector. He said the new law was based on the recommendation of the cooperative registration committee.

A background note on the ordinance released by the government said a review of the current situation had revealed corruption, illegal appointments and promotions and misappropriation of funds. The government, it said, was of the opinion that these irregularities are the outcome of the structural indiscipline.

Currently, other cooperative societies have membership with voting rights in DCBs. The new law takes away this right. While PACS contribute 70% of the total deposits in the 14 DCBs and consume the major share of credit disbursement, they constitute only 14.2% of the societies affiliated to DCBs and represent only 31% of the membership of the board of management.

Mr. Vijayan said the restructuring would not pose any hurdle for other cooperative societies to avail themselves of credit facilities. The ordinance also takes away the provision to cancel the membership of a society if it failed to turn up for the annual general body meeting three times in a row or failed to avail of the DCB’s services for two years.

“This provision had led to a rash of petitions and litigation. That is why we decided to do away with it,” Mr. Vijayan said.

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