Dr. G.R. Chintala, Chairman, NABARD, speaking at the inaugural session of the National Conclave of All India Rural Cooperative Banks in the country and related stakeholders at BIRD, Lucknow on 7th and 8th January 2021, emphasized the need and importance of Co-operative banking sector for achieving important National goals like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Vocal for Local and Doubling of Farmers’ Income. He said that Cooperative Banks are the most relevant entities to champion the cause of Atmanirbhar Bharat espoused by Government of India.
The two-day conclave was an initiative by NABARD and BIRD to bring together Rural Cooperative Banks in order to evolve strategies to be competition ready. Chairman, NABARD advised banks to diversify the business portfolio of Primary Agriculture Co-operative Societies (PACS) and take advantage of the various developmental initiatives of NABARD such as transformation of PACS as Multi Service Centers (MSCs), special refinance facility to Co-operatives and other promotional measures to strengthen the co-operative structures across the country.
Assuring policy, technical and financial support from NABARD for the overall development of co-operative banking structures in the country which have vast rural outreach across the country and know the pulse of the rural clientele, Shri G R Chintala said that it is high time that the cooperative sector regains the lost space in the rural credit area by becoming the member driven business organizations providing both financial and non-financial services. He advised cooperatives to equip themselves with technology at par with other financial players in the banking sector to enjoy the level playing field and evolve themselves as the most preferred institutions by the rural clientele for diversified range of products and services. He also exhorted the cooperative banks to focus on term lending. He said that the interest rates on NABARD financial assistance have been made very competitive for helping the cooperative banks.
Shri Shaji K V, DMD, NABARD pointed out that with more than 95000 societies, Cooperatives have enormous exploitable potential in rural areas to expand their business and serve clients in a better way through adoption of financial technology. He underlined that cooperative societies are unique institutions which can offer credit plus facilities to farmers’ and co-operative system should recognize their unique strength and USP.
Earlier, welcoming the dignitaries, Shri Shankar A. Pande, Director, BIRD emphasized on the capacity building of human resources in cooperative banks, especially on development of modern skillsets required in new age banking and said that the Conclave will trigger the process of revamping the rural lending in the country.
Shri K. L. Meena, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Co-operative and Animal Husbandry, Government of Rajasthan said that it is high time to imbibe technology and professionalism in co-operative sector so that it can serve farmers in a better way. He appreciated the efforts of NABARD in providing assistance to PACS for computerization. Shri K R Rao, Chairman, NAFSCOB appreciating number of initiatives by NABARD for strengthening cooperative credit structure, also welcomed the recent amendments in governance and regulation of cooperative banks.
Apart from reviewing the performance of rural co-operative banks across the country, the two days national conclave also deliberated on the strategies, approaches and way forward for various stakeholders of rural co-operative credit structure sector on business expansion and diversification, market interventions through societies, deepening and widening services by transforming societies as Multi Service Centers, computerization of societies and integration with Core Banking Solutions of Co-operative banks, creating cyber security umbrella, etc.