Co-operative Banking in a Competitive Business Environment


Cooperative Banking Structure, which is now a century old, has a unique position in the rural credit delivery system of India. Having made significant strides in the field of rural credit through its short and the long-term structures, it continues to play a crucial role in dispensation of credit for agriculture and rural development. Though commercial banks after nationalisation and later on RRBs have entered the rural areas, but cooperative banks still continue to enjoy an important place in the rural credit scenario. The cooperative credit societies at the grassroot level are intended not only to cater to the credit requirements of the members but also to provide several credit linked services like input supply, storage and marketing of produce, supply of consumer goods etc. Keeping in view the importance of cooperative banks and credit societies, several committees, from the All India Rural Credit Survey Committee to the latest Vaidyanathan Committee, have stressed the need for major role of cooperatives in providing credit and allied services in the rural sector. The process of economic reforms began in India during 90.s and the cooperative banking though being the integral part of the financial system of the country, was kept insulated from the effects of these reforms. Realising that a healthy financial system being the pre-requisite for the success of globalisation process, Govt. of India initiated several steps to reform the financial system by appointing Narsimhan Committee and implementing its recommendations. But the cooperative banking was left out of the gambit of this process. However, the financial discipline such as the recommendation of Basel Committee on Bank Supervision, prudential norms, NPA norms Capital Adequacy norms etc. were expected to be complied with on par with other commercial banks. In case of cooperative banking system also attempts were made for its reform by appointing Kapoor Committee, Vikhe Patil Committee and Vyas Committee but no serious attempts were made to implement the recommendations of these committees. Keeping in view, the distinct nature of cooperative banking, it is the need of the hour to assess the regulatory, structural, operational and financial requirements to restore their growth and development on sound lines in the competitive business environment.

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