Shimla -21st September, 2021-Urban Development and Cooperation Minister Suresh Bhardwaj called on Union Minister of Home Affairs and Cooperation Amit Shah at New Delhi today.

Suresh Bhardwaj stressed upon extension of scope of scheme for coverage of Farmer Produce Organisation ( FPO ) as cooperative societies to Block level in state irrespective of whether they have been covered under ICDP or not.

The Minister said that Himachal is formulating a policy to promote FPOs in Cooperative sectors in the state. The Minister apprised Union Minister that Himachal has set a target of registering 100 FPOs in one year and reaching out to minimum 10, 000 farmers through them. He said the FPOs in the cooperative sector will strengthen the post harvest management infrastructure in the state.

He also requested for earmarking funds for trainings of management committee members as distinguished from the training of secretaries.

He discussed various issues pertaining to the Ministry of Cooperation with the Union Minister.

Suresh Bhardwaj also apprised Union Minister that the state government has initiated the process of computerization of cooperative societies in collaboration with NABARD and has allocated Rs 5 crore for computerization of 300 Societies. He urged the Centre for Centre State partnership scheme in the ratio of 80:20 or 90:10 so that all the societies can be covered.

The Minister also requested to extend interest subvention to Primary Agriculture Credit Societies ( PACS ) to cooperatives working in health, education, MSMEs and eco tourism sectors. This is available only for cooperatives working in agriculture/ horticulture sectors at present, he added. He further requested for provision of collateral free loans upto 20 lakhs in case of cooperative societies so that many more societies can avail benefit of schemes like PACS or ICDP ( Integrated Cooperative Development Project ).

Suresh Bhardwaj also urged for bringing the State and District Cooperative Banks under CGTMSE ( Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises ) coverage. This will encourage banks to advance loans to societies, he added.

He also urged for provision in ICDP for establishment costs as state government is facing staff shortage due to budgetary constraints.

The Union Minister assured of all possible assistance to the state.