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India : Today, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for various significant initiatives within the cooperative sector at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi. Among these, he inaugurated the pilot project of the ‘World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector’, which encompasses 11 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) across 11 States.

  • The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for an additional 500 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) nationwide, aiming for the construction of godowns and other agricultural infrastructure as part of this initiative.
  • This initiative aims to seamlessly integrate PACS godowns with the food grain supply chain, bolstering food security and fostering economic development across the nation through collaborative efforts supported by NABARD and spearheaded by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
  • Implemented through the convergence of various existing schemes like the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), Agriculture Marketing Infrastructure (AMI), etc., the initiative enables PACS participating in the project to access subsidies and interest subvention benefits for infrastructure development.
  • The Prime Minister inaugurated a project for computerization in 18,000 PACS nationwide, aligning with the government’s vision of “Sahakar se Samridhi,” aimed at revitalizing the cooperative sector and empowering small and marginal farmers.
  • The Prime Minister emphasized the potential of cooperatives in addressing farmers’ individual challenges through collective strength, using storage as an example. Highlighting the losses incurred by farmers due to inadequate storage infrastructure, he drew attention to the government’s initiation of the world’s largest storage plan of 700 lakh metric tons, slated to be completed within the next 5 years at a cost of Rs 1.25 lakh crores. He noted that this initiative would allow farmers to store their produce and sell it at the opportune moment according to their requirements, while also facilitating access to loans from banks.
  • The Prime Minister emphasized the government’s commitment to fostering prosperity through cooperative societies, highlighting initiatives such as reducing the cess on cooperative societies earning between Rs 1 crore and Rs 10 crore from 12 percent to 7 percent. This move has resulted in increased capital for these societies and has opened up new avenues for progress akin to corporations. He underscored the disparity in taxation between cooperative societies and companies, mentioning a reduction in the minimum alternate tax for societies from 18.5 percent to 15 percent, thereby ensuring parity between the two. Additionally, the Prime Minister announced an increase in the annual withdrawal limit to Rs 3 crore from Rs 1 crore, addressing concerns regarding TDS on withdrawals. In conclusion, he expressed confidence that collective efforts in the realm of cooperation will unlock the full potential of development with the unified strength of the nation.

The event was attended by several dignitaries including the Union Minister for Home Affairs and Cooperation, Shri Amit Shah, the Union Minister for Agriculture, Shri Arjun Munda, and the Union Minister for Commerce, Shri Piyush Goyal, alongside other notable figures.

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