Cooperative Movement and Department of Cooperation

A Cooperative society is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. It is based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. It is an ideology driven by value based institution with a set of Internationally recognized and accepted seven Principles of Cooperation

As an institution system for socio-economic development, the role of the Department is that of a facilitator working towards furthering the cooperative movement in the State. It has authority to organize, promote cooperative societies, provide management guideline; conducts audit of the cooperatives and settle disputes.

History of Cooperative Movement in Sikkim

To speed up state’s socio-economy, the early account of the Cooperative Movement was started with the enactment of Sikkim Cooperative Societies Act 1955. Under the Act, Consumers’ cooperatives mostly managed by Ex-soldiers  and agricultural cooperatives were promoted. After the State joined the Indian mainstream, the 1955 Cooperative Act was repealed and replaced by a comprehensive Sikkim Cooperative Societies Act, 1978 and  Sikkim Cooperative Societies Rule, 1981. Milk cooperative network on Anand Model with Sikkim Milk Union at the Apex Level is being promoted. A chain of consumer cooperative societies under Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) of Govt. of India, Sikkim State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation with village MPCS as members for farm input supply, consumer distribution, farm output marketing, credit disbursement and deposit mobilization is also being set up. The Sikkim State Cooperative Bank is also being organized and actively promoted. The Sikkim State Cooperative Union organized and established in 2002 is being promoted to progressively develop standard of the general people in cultivating cooperative ideals.

With the policy and dynamic decision of the Govt., the erstwhile 35 MPCSs were re-organized with one MPCS in each of the 166 existing Gram Panchayat Units of the State. The labor contract and construction cooperatives are vigorously being promoted and keeping in mind the broad policy priorities of the Govt. to concentrate development of economy on areas like tourism, medicinal herb plantation, livestock farming including dairy, floriculture and orchid farming etc. The State has proposed to promote producers’ cooperatives rather than continuing with the traditional consumerism form of economic development concept. The Cooperation Department is also suitably expanded, strengthened and needful extent of decentralization were done.

Since inception of policy for formation of various construction cooperatives  by the Govt. especially focusing educated unemployed to execute all construction works falls under village Gram Panchayat and Municipal wards worth up to Rs. 3.00 Crores without tender. Similarly, cooperative societies formed by registered contractors and labour including women are also eligible for awarding construction works up to Rs. 1.00 Crores of Gram Panchayat and Municipal wards wards without tender. The provision of 10% mobilization advances against work's value shall also be given to the cooperatives to execute the works. As on March 2013 there are 2337 such GP level construction cooperatives were organized from where 27489 individuals became the members of these cooperatives out of which  11041 are female.  

As on 31st March 2013, there are all together  3013 cooperatives of which  6 are apex level cooperatives in the State. There are all together 90290 individual share holder members of cooperative societies in Sikkim. The total  paid-up Share capital of these cooperatives is Rs.2370.51 Lakhs. The annual business turnover of Rs. 17838.12 lakhs, loans and advances of Rs. 4053.54 lakhs,  bank deposits of Rs. 18529.42 lakhs  and also execution of construction works about to Rs. 8257.83 lakhs awarded to over 300 GP level construction cooperatives are the major achievements of the cooperatives during 2012-13.