The principle of co-operation plays an important role in the agro-industrial economy, particularly so in the sphere of rural credit societies. The primary object of the co-operative movement is the uplift of persons with limited means and elevation of their economic standard. The movement also aims at equitable distribution of national wealth. With these aims and views the movement is making steady and sure headway with the help of selfless and devoted workers. Because of its high aims and democratic approach towards the economic problems, the movement is bound to assume an enviable role in the nation building programme.
The activities of the Co-operative department extend to the fields of rural finance,
agricultural marketing, industrial co-operatives, regulated markets and money-lending business. All these activities are governed under the various enactments. The Co-operative department is entrusted with the administration of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960; the Central Provinces and Berar Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1935; the Central Provinces Cotton Market Act, 1932; the Bombay Money-lenders Act, 1946; the Bombay Warehousing Act, 1959 and the Rules made thereunder.
After the formation of the Zilla Parishads in 1962, the activities pertaining to co-operative movement in the district came under the dual control of the State Government and the Zilla
Parishad. The Co-operation and Industries department of the Zilla Parisbad is responsible for the registration, organisation, supervision, inspection, etc.. of all types of co-operatives in rural areas having authorised share capital of Rs. 50,000 or working capital np to Rs. 5 lakhs. The supervision and control over regulated markets is also entrusted to the district sector. All other schemes are looked after by the department in the State sector.
The Commissioner for Co-operation and Registrar of Co-operative Societies with headquarters at Poona is the head of department at the State level. At the divisional level is the Divisional Joint Registrar who also works as Registrar of Money-lenders for his division. He is assisted by a Divisional Deputy
Registrar and three Divisional Assistant Registrars. The audit of the co-operative societies which is the statutory function of the Registrar is attended to by the Divisional Special Auditor.
The activities under the State sector in the district are placed under the
administrative control of the District Deputy Registrar, Co-operative Societies. Chandrapur who is a class I officer in Maharashtra
Co-operative Service and upon whom have been conferred various statutory powers
by the Government. Under the Bombay Warehousing Act, 1959, the District Deputy
Registrar has to work as 'Prescribed Authority ' and under the Bombay Money-lending Act, he has to work as the Registrar of Money-lenders. The District Deputy Registrar is assisted by two Assistant Registrar whose jurisdictions extend over the areas specified by the District Deputy Registrar. The Assistant Registrars have to work as Public Enquiry Officers for the purpose of processing loan applications of Land
Development Bank along with the District Deputy Registrar. The Block Development Officers and the Co-operation and Industries Officer of the Zilla Parisbad.
Under the Money-lenders Act. the Assistant Registrars have to work as Assistant Registrars of Money-lenders within their respective jurisdictions.
The District Deputy Registrar and the Assistant Registrars ate assisted in their work by the Co-operative Officers. Assistant. Co-operative Officers and Industrial Supervisors. These officers are not expected to exercise any statutory powers under the Co-operative Societies Act. 1960 but they have to perform certain statutory functions as and when they are appointed for the purpose. The Co-operative Officers, however,
enjoy statutory powers under section 13-A of the Bombay Money-lenders Act, in respect of records of Money-lenders.
There are 18 supervising unions with 51 supervisors. Their services are placed
at the disposal of the supervising unions which are federal bodies registered
under the Act and they exercise control and supervision over the affiliates. One
of the supervisors in each supervising union works as the secretary of the
supervising union whose main duty is to supervise the working and development of union and the agricultural credit societies in his charge. He is assisted by two or three super- visors according to the volume of the work.
The audit of the co-operative societies is the statutory duty of the Registrar under section 81 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act and accordingly he, by himself or through the person authorised on his behalf, audits every society at least once a year. The audit staff of the district, which is now separate from the regular administrative wing, consists of one District Special Auditor, one Functional Special Auditor assist-ed by necessary number of auditors and sub-auditors. The audit staff in the district is under the administrative control of the Divisional Special Auditor who is a class I officer at the divisional level.
The District Special Auditor makes arrangement for audit of all societies in the district, for which purpose a list of societies at the end of the co-operative year (i.e.,
on 30th June) is prepared and societies are allotted to different members of
audit staff, according to the volume of business and size of the societies. The
Act also provides for appointment of certified auditors with necessary
qualifications. The societies which can get their accounts audited by certified
auditors are notified in the Government Gazette and accordingly, these societies
make arrangements to get their accounts audited through the certified auditors from approved panel.
Agricultural credit Societies.
Till the end of June 1967. the district had 1,653 co-operative societies of which the agricultural credit societies alone numbered 1,204. Among the agricultural credit societies, 999 were service co-operative societies, 177 primary credit societies and 28 large size societies. The total membership of the agricultural credit societies at the end of the year 1966-67 stood at, 86,650. The Government contributed Rs. 3,03,500 towards the share capital of these societies. These societies advance loans to the members for agricultural purposes and also undertake supply of fertilisers, insecticides, etc., to the agriculturists. Steps have already been taken to link credit with marketing and processing. Some of the agricultural credit societies in the district have undertaken marketing activity for the benefit of the members.
There were also 27 non-agricultural credit societies in the district at the end of the year 1966-67 comprising one urban co-operative bank, one urban credit society, three thrift credit societies, one mill hand society and 21 salary earners' societies.
Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act,1960
The Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act of 1960 provides
the all disputes concerning the constitution, election of officers,
conduct of business and management of societies shall be
referred to the Registrar. Accordingly, the District Deputy
Registrar and Assistant Registrars act as arbitrators for deciding the disputes in the district referred to them. Under the Act, the Divisional Joint Registrar is empowered to appoint the per- sons to work as Registrar's nominees, to whom the disputes can he referred for decision in case the District Deputy Registrar or the Assistant Registrar is not in a position to decide the dispute. All these officers are selected from legal practitioners of good standing. The powers regarding the award of decision in the dispute are exercised by the Assistant Registrars concurrently with the District Deputy Registrar and the Divisional Joint Registrar in respect of all the societies in their respective jurisdictions.
Co-operation and Industries Officer.
Consequent upon the establishment of the Zilla Parishad, one of the three Assistant Registrars was transferred to it. He works as Co-operation and Industries Officer and is directly responsible to the Chief Executive Officer of the Zilla Parishad. He also acts as the Secretary of the Co-operation Committee of the Zilla Parishad. He is delegated with certain powers of the Registrar of Co-operative Societies so far as registration of new societies and amendments to the bye-laws of certain types of societies coming within the purview of the Zilla Parishad. are concerned. The Co-operartion and Industries Officer of the Zilla Parishad is assisted in his work by the Block Development Officers and Extension Officers.
District Co-operative Board.
Training and education in co-operation and propaganda for spread of co-operative movement in the district are carried out by the District Co-operative Board under the guidance of the Maharashtra State Co-operative Union. Bombay. The member-ship of the Board is of two classes-ordinary, consisting of all co-operative societies in the district. and associate comprising individuals. A nominee of the financing agency, the District Deputy Registrar and the Executive Officer of the Maharashtra State Co-operative Union are the ex-officio members of the Board. The membership of the Board stood at 962 in 1968.
In 1968. there were 37 farming societies in the district of which 3 were joint farming societies and the remaining 34 were collective farming societies. Of these 37 societies. 12 fell under pilot project area while the remaining 25 societies came under non-pilot area. Mul and Sindewahi blocks have been selected as pilot project blocks. The membership of these societies stood at 927 and the paid-up share capital was Rs. 2.25 lakhs. These societies commanded an area of 121 hectares.
In 1966-67 there were 43 housing societies in the district. Of these 17 were backward housing societies. 5 societies working under low income group housing scheme and 21 societies were of flood affected persons. Of 17 backward housing societies, 7 belonged to scheduled castes, 8 to scheduled tribes and 2 societies came under other backward class scheme. During the same year, these societies had 1,526 members and the paid-up capital worth Rs. 54,700.
At the end of the year 1967-68, there were in all 166 industrial societies in the district, of which 46 were forest labourers' societies, 57 labour contractors' societies and 63 other types of societies such as potters' societies, oil ghanis societies, etc.