NEW DELHI: Pitching for setting up an additional 2 lakh new primary agricultural credit society (PACS) across the country in the next five years, home and cooperation minister Amit Shah on Friday said the PACS are the soul of farm credit system and therefore it’s necessary to strengthen them by increasing their number from 95,000 to around 3 lakh.
“If the number of PACS reach 3 lakh panchayats in the country, then distribution of Rs 10 lakh crore agriculture finance could be possible through cooperatives,” said Shah while addressing a national conference on rural cooperative banks.
“With the foundation of the 3 lakh PACS being strengthened, district cooperative banks will be strengthened, which in turn will lead to the strengthening of the state cooperative banks”, said Shah.
Currently, there are 63,000 functional PACS out of a total 95,000 such credit societies in the country, disbursing agriculture finance of Rs 2 lakh crore. PACS constitute the lowest tier of the three-tier short-term cooperative credit in the country comprising about 13 crore farmers as its members, which is crucial for the development of the rural economy.
Noting the Cabinet’s recent approval for computerisation of about 63,000 PACS to improve their efficiency and to bring transparency and accountability in their operations, Shah said, “Computerisation is a medicine for 100 diseases…This will help in upgradation of their human resources and accounting system.”
Shah said the ministry of cooperation has come out with a draft ‘model by-laws of PACS’, inviting suggestions from state governments and other stakeholders.