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Co-operative Societies: Mandatory Education and Training

Saturday, June 09, 2018

There are various  principles of co-operative which are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice. Among them, education and training for co-operative societies is one of the most important principle. Ramesh S. Prabhu looks into the chapter in detail

House being one of the most important necessities of civilised human beings, revolutionary changes have taken place in the manner in which the human beings have started to live. Simultaneously, evolutionary changes have taken place in the structure and system of living. From the Caveman culture, civilisation has moved on to the modern day living standards. Today, it is an era of the

Co-operative housing society, which is one of the most well accepted style of living by the urban and the not so urban society. There are many advantages of living in a Co-operative Housing Society, the most attractive proposition being sharing of the expenditure for various facilities and services utilised for maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.

Why training is needed
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives.  They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders about the nature and benefits of co-operation. For the effective working of the co-operative societies, education and training of the working of the societies, co-operative act, rules, by-laws is essential. Earlier, Maharashtra Rajya Sahakari Sangh was conducting the education and training programme but it was not up to the mark. Therefore, in the 97th Constitutional Amendment  Section 24 A was inserted in the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960, Section 24A.

  • Under co-operative education and training to members principle every society shall organise co-operative education and training, for its members, officers and employees through such State federal societies or the State Apex Training Institutes, as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify.  

Such education and training shall,
(i)      ensure the effective and active participation of the members in the management of the society;
(ii)  groom talented employees for leadership position;
(iii) develop professional skills through co-operative education and training.

  • Every member of the committee, whether elected or co-opted, shall undergo such co-operative education and training for such period and at such intervals as may be prescribed.
  • Every society shall contribute annually towards the education and training fund of the State federal societies or State Apex Training Institutes, notified under sub-section (1), at such rates as may be prescribed, and different rates may be prescribed for different societies or classes of societies.

Accordingly Section 30A inserted in the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Rule, 1961. The Rule reads as follow :-  

Every society shall organize education and training programmes for its members, officers and employees every year through the State Federal Societies or State Apex Training Institutes which are notified by the State Government under Section 24A of the Act.

As far as possible period of education and training shall be for members at least one day and maximum upto three days. For members of committee at least one day and maximum upto three days. For officers of the society minimum two days. For employees at least two days and maximum upto seven days.

As far as possible the members, may be covered in five consecutive years.

Committee members and employees shall be covered at least once in five years or as specified in bye-laws of the society.

The State Federal Societies or the State Apex Training Institutes which may be notified by State Government shall, arrange to cater to the co-operative education and training to the members, officers and employees of the respective societies, at their request to arrange for the same.

The State Federal Societies or State Apex Training Institutes to be notified by the State Government shall have:
(a) Registration under the provisions of the Act or any other Act
(b) Area of operation shall be the State of Maharashtra;
(c) Provision in their bye-laws to impart co-operative education and training to the members, officers and employees of the societies;
(d) Adequate infrastructure to provide co-operative education and training to the societies;
(e) Qualified Teaching and
non-Teaching staff on their establishment or panel;
(f) Adequate experience in the field of imparting
Co-operative Education and Training to the Societies.

The State Federal Societies or State Apex Training Institutes shall have liberty to engage other societies having infrastructure and experience for catering
Co-operative education and training.

The societies shall, every year, make provisions and contribute to Co-operative education and training fund of the notified State Federal Societies or State Apex Training Institutes.

The rates of contribution to the Co-operative education and training fund to be made every year by the societies to the State Federal Societies or State Apex Training Institutes shall be as notified by the State Government from time to time and different rates may be notified for different societies or classes of societies.

The education and training fund shall be managed by the State Federal Societies or the State Apex raining Institutes as the case may be for achieving the objects as specified in their bye-laws.

Society arrangements
Model bye-laws of the co-operative housing society no.13(d) provided to create Education and Training Fund from the Members as contribution of Rs.10/- per month/per unit or as decided by the General Body and no.14(d) provided utilisation of Education and Training Fund as provided under section 24(A) of the act mentioned above.
Taking cognizance of the amendment in the 97th Constitution of India and effective implementation of the law, the Commissioner, Co-operation and Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Maharashtra State, Pune has issued a Circular on dt. 15th May, 2015, asking every society to make an arrangement of co-operation education and training fund.  He further stated that the Provision of annual estimate statement of the society has been made in section 75(2)(viii) of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act 1960. While preparing the said estimate statement, financial provision should be made for co-operation education and training. He also chalks out the training programme and asked that all trainees should be divided every year. That means during the period of 1st April to 31st March, the target of 1/5th members, officers and employees of all societies should be taken. And see that the training of selected office bearers/directors/ employees/members every year will be done in that year.

It seems that many societies particularly co-operative housing societies are apathetic in giving co-operative education and training to their members, office bearers, employees. Mind it well that this education and training is mandatory and auditors have been asked to take note in their audit report in this respect.

(Ramesh S. Prabhu is Chairman, Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association)

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