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 After the State joined the Indian mainstream, the 1955 Cooperative Act was repealed and replaced by a comprehensive Sikkim Cooperative Societies Act, 1978 and  Sikkim Cooperative Societies Rule, 1981.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 MPCS 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 and  working capitals is Rs 25021.16 Lakhs. The annual business turnover of Rs. 17777.66 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.


Administrative Set-up :

Prior to 1975, the Department was a small cell functioning within the then Planning and Development Department. After the State joined the mainstream of the Indian Union in 1975-76 a full-fledged Cooperation Department was established with Secretary Cooperation as Ex-officio Registrar of Cooperative Societies. The Department at that time functioned with one (1) Deputy Registrar in the Head Quarter and two (2) Inspectors for South/West and North/East Division and few Ministerial and accounts staff to assist the Secretary Cooperation.

With the growth in number of cooperative societies in the State the Department increased its field functionaries suitably and established two division offices headed initially by Assistant Registrars and then by Deputy Registrars. Later in the year 1994, a separate Cooperative Cadre Service was formed and the manpower requirement of the Department was enhanced. Two Integrated Cooperative Development Projects of NCDC were launched in 1995-96 in East and South Districts which were eventually discontinued after spending over Rs.1.00 Crores mostly in creating rural go-downs for cooperatives. This was followed by establishment of separate District Offices for each district and later sub-division offices respectively.

The Head Quarter of Cooperation Department is situated at Sahakari Bhawan, Tadong, Gangtok. The Secretary is the Head of the Department and the Pr. Registrar is the Head of office. The Registrar of Cooperative Societies executes the function of supervision, monitoring and regulation of cooperative societies. Each district is headed by Joint Registrar. Deputy Registrars head the Sub-division with host of field functionaries to assist them in day-to-day affairs of the society. Audit of cooperative societies once in a year is the statutory function and to undertake the audit of the societies there are Audit offices in all district and Sub-division. There are also sufficient officers and staff of Accounts, Ministerial, Planning, Statistics, Monitoring and Evaluation and other Services to provide backup services for smoothly running the administration.

The present status of cooperative cadre strength is as under:

Name of post Basic Pay Scale Grade Pay Sanctioned strength Post filled
1.  Pr. Registrar 37400-67000 9500   1  1
2.  Registrar 32000-60000 9000   1  1
3.  Addl Registrar 15600-39100 8700   3   2
4.  Joint Registrar 15600-39100 7200   6   6
5.  Deputy Registrar 15600-39100 6200 14 14
6.  Sr. Audit Officer 15600-39100 6200   6   6
7.  Assistant Registrar 9300-34800 5000 30 23
8.  Audit Officer 9300-34800 5000 16 16
9.  Coop. Inspector 9300-34800 3800 36 22
10.  Coop. Auditor 9300-34800 3800 17  8