In a recent cabinet reshuffle, Government of India announced on July 7,2021 about the creation of a new and separate ‘Ministry of Cooperation’ at Union level. It was earlier managed as a part of the Ministry of Agriculture.  The Ministry will be headed by Home Minister Amit Shah.


Ministry of Cooperation is an effort to give a boost to cooperative movement in the country and making it accessible to public. Thus, making it a real people- centred movement which holds capacity to solve people’s problem.

It will establish an independent administrative, legal and policy framework.

It will ensure simplification and modernisation of processes for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ for co-operatives and lead to creation of Multi-State Co-Operatives (MSCS).


International Labour Organization defines a cooperative as an independent association of persons coming together willingly to achieve their common economic, social and cultural goals. It is a democratically controlled enterprise.

Types of Cooperative Societies are:

  • Consumer cooperative Society (Example- Super Bazar and Apna Bazar)
  • Producer Cooperative Society (Example- Dairy, fish, farmers, weavers and artisans and tribal)
  • Credit Cooperative Society (Example- State Electric Board Employee Co-op Credit Society)
  • Housing Cooperative Society (Example- Sainik Co-op House Building Society Ltd., Goa)
  • Marketing Cooperative Society (Example- AMUL Milk Co-operatives in Gujarat, Mahe Grape, Cotton Marketing Co-ops)



In India, it emerged for the first time when farmers of Pune and Ahmednagar protested against the excessive rate of interest charged by the money lenders and decided to form a strong union in the name of Cooperative society.

British Government proposed three acts – The Deccan Agricultural Relief Act (1879), the Land Improvement Loan Act (1883), the Agriculturists Loan Act (1884).

In 1903, the Government of Bengal supported the formation of a credit cooperative society in Banking. The British government registered first such cooperative under the Friendly Societies Act. But later it got established in proper structure with the legalisation of the Cooperative Credit Societies Act, 1904.

Montague-Chelmsford Reforms in 1919 made it a subject of provincial concern and therefore provinces were empowered to make their own cooperative laws and rules.

Cooperative became essential part of Five-Year Plans after independence. A national policy was put forward by National Development Council (NDC) in 1958 aiming to prepare human resource to set up Co-operative Marketing Societies.

National Cooperative Development Corporation Act, 1962 instituted a statutory corporation named as National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

Indian Parliament enacted the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act in 1984 to exterminate different laws regulating the similar kind of societies. It allowed them to work PAN India and was controlled by Central Registrar of Societies. Later, government declared a National Policy on Co-operatives in 2002.

Co-operative societies were administered under the Con-current list similarly to Agriculture. It means the laws can be made by both the Parliament as well as the State legislature.


To explain functioning of cooperatives in India Part IXB was added after Part IXA (Municipals) by the 97th Constitutional Amendment Act,2011.

The term ‘cooperative’ was inserted after the ‘unions and associations’ in Article 19(1)(c) under Part III of the Constitution. The objective of this addition is to let people form cooperatives by making it a fundamental right of the citizens.

In Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV), a new Article 43B was attached to promote cooperative societies.


The purpose of establishment of separate ministry is to emphasize on the importance of cooperative system in the country. It will help in boosting the economies of the state as well as in earning remuneration in PAN India. This movement to spread across the country would also require financial and legal power which will be provided by the ministry. It will ensure all states get their part of share from the fund.


  • As a supervising authority, it will check on maladministration.
  • It will create awareness and promote the need, significance and advantages of cooperative societies.
  • The involvement of Central Ministry will enhance coverage of cooperative in other parts of the country.

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