The Union Budget has recently announced Rs 2,516 crore for the computerisation of 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) over the next five years
About Primary Agricultural Credit Societies:
- These are village-level cooperative credit societies that serve as the last link in a three-tier cooperative credit structure.
- These are headed by the State Cooperative Banks (SCB) at the state level.
- Credit from the SCBs is transferred to the district central cooperative banks, or DCCBs, that operate at the district level.
- These district central cooperative banks work with PACS, which deals directly with farmers.
- Individual farmers are members of the PACS, and office-bearers are elected from within them. A village can have multiple PACS.
- PACS are involved in short-term lending — or what is known as crop loans.
- At the start of the cropping cycle, farmers avail credit to finance their requirement of seeds, fertilisers etc.
- Banks extend this credit at 7 per cent interest, of which 3 per cent is subsidised by the Centre, and 2 per cent by the state government. Effectively, farmers avail the crop loans at 2 per cent interest only.
Q1) What are the cooperative societies?
A cooperative society is a free and unconstrained organization for such individuals, who can utilize its services and agrees to accept the responsibilities of membership without any gender, social, ethnic, political or religious discrimination.