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Cooperative Societies in India

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  • Last Updated : 21 Mar, 2022
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A cooperative society plays an important role in maintaining food security and financial assistance to agricultural workers. It has been useful in mitigating the negative impacts of monopoly and also contributed to a more equitable distribution of wealth in their own way. Other impacts of cooperatives on market pricing levels, quality, and service are intangible or indirect. Cooperatives are not run for profit, but if there is any disposable surplus at the conclusion of the year’s work, a portion of it is transferred to the reserve fund. They are basically for the lower-wage poorer who barely get any dietary food.

According to the United Nations Committee on World Food Security, food security means that all people have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life at all times.

Food security is comprised of the three components listed below:

  1. Food availability refers to the availability of food in sufficient quantities and on a consistent basis. It considers stock and production in a given area, as well as the ability to bring food in from elsewhere via trade or aid.
  2. Food access means that people must be able to obtain adequate quantities of food on a regular basis, whether through purchase, home production, barter, gifts, borrowing, or food aid. 
  3. Food consumption: Food consumed must have a nutritional impact on people. Cooking, storage, and hygiene practices, individual health, water and sanitation practices, feeding and sharing practices within the household are all covered.

Household resources, disposable income, and socioeconomic status all have a strong impact on food security. It is also inextricably linked to other issues such as food prices, global climate change, water, energy, and agricultural expansion. 

What are Cooperative Societies in India?

A Cooperative Society is a voluntary organization of people who band together to pursue a shared economic goal with similar needs. These societies have created to obtain low-cost loans, acquire agriculturally and household supplies and equipment, sell products and even secure a variety of services.

It is an organization owned by the people who consume its services with equal power over all members and its main goal is to serve the poorer sectors of society by using the principles of self-help and equality.

Members with shared economic activity, such as farming, consuming, fishing, and so on, can organize a Co-operative Society,’ but there should be a minimum of 10 members with the age of 18 years. Though the ‘Cooperative Societies’ is under the State Subject (List II of Seventh Schedule to Constitution) but this Co-operative Societies Act, 1912 is a Central Act. In India, cooperative societies play an important role in the food security system, particularly in the country’s southern and western regions.

Role of Cooperatives in Food Security

Some of the Main Roles that cooperative plays are,

To Provide consumers essential Food grains at reasonable costs:

The main purpose is to provide goods and services to the poorer or weaker section of society at reasonable costs. These cooperatives set competitive market prices for goods and services. The primary purpose of a consumer cooperative association is to deliver high-quality goods and services to its members at the price lower than the market price.

For Example, Around 94 percent of fair shops in Tamil Nadu are being run by a cooperative society.

Reduce the exploitation of society’s weakest members:

This society encourages the weaker section of society to become self-sufficient economically. It is a type of organization in which economically weak or weaker person or section of society join a business to achieve their mutual economic and social objectives to end all the exploitation such as ending capitalism’s exploitation, eliminating intermediaries, and plays a role in bringing the customer and producer closer together.

It enables the communities in developing and transitioning countries with limited access to capital, education, and training to pool their resources to solve issues, define common goals, and tackle the causes of poverty.

White Revolution:

There are so many milk and milk products cooperative companies like Verka, Mother Dairy, Amul, etc have bought the White Revolution in the country.

For Example, Mother dairy has made progress by providing milk and vegetables to the consumers at a controlled rate decided by the Delhi government. Another successful cooperative story is Amul in milk and milk products to ensure the availability of products at prices lower than the market.

Development of Food Grains Bank:

As for higher profitability, Food Grain banks are essential for the post-harvest storage and distribution of perishable commodities and food items. Cooperative marketing systems already have their own huge facilities which Farmers can use to keep their crops in these facilities while waiting for higher pricing. Apart from these, cold storage facilities also help decrease the risk of rain, theft, insects, birds, rodents, and rats harming the crops.

For Example, The Academy of Development Science In Maharashtra has organized training programs for the NGOs and established a network of NGOs for the development of grain banks in different regions.

Boosting Agriculture Sector:

Cooperatives help the farmers to connect with the markets and to provide a collective platform for bargaining with buyers, aggregating, marketing, and processing services, main product distribution routes, and training and capacity development services to its members.

Access to Resources:

Cooperatives help the farmers in their own services or corporate-oriented business. It also helps the producer ownership empowers them to choose services and activities that enhance their individual agricultural profitability rather than the cooperative’s earnings. With the help of farmers can enhance their profit or revenues. Cooperatives society can work more efficiently at lower costs per unit than farmers do individually by pooling supply purchases, sales, and handling and selling expenditures.

Sample Questions

Question 1: Mention two drawbacks of an increase in Minimum Support Price?


The drawbacks of an increase in Minimum Support Price are,

  • Increase in the transportation and storage costs.
  • Increase in the maintenance cost of procured food grains by the government .

Question 2: What are the activities of Ration shops?


The activities of Ration shops are,

  • These shops plays an important role in supply or accessibility of food grains from the surplus area to deficit areas.
  • With ration card family can buy stipulated amount of food grains every month at a stated price.

Question 3: What is the distinction between chronic and seasonal hunger?


The difference between chronic and seasonal hunger are,

Chronic Hunger 

Seasonal Hunger

The consequence of inadequate diets in terms of quantity and quality Depend on the cycles of food growing and harvesting.
People suffer because of their low income and inability to buy food. People suffer because of casual labor. 
Mostly occurs when people having less opportunity to earn money  Occurs only at certain times of the year in a society 

Question 4: Why Government has created buffer stock?


Government has created buffer stock because of the following reasons,

  • Food security: The primary goal is to ensure food security by distributing food grains in deficient areas and among the poorer strata of society at a price lower than the market price.
  • Calamity: In case of calamity, the buffer stock helps in the problem of shortage of food during adverse weather conditions .

Question 5: Which section of society is more prone to food insecurity?


Scheduled caste and scheduled tribes are the section of society , who have either less land or very low land productivity. Some of the insecure people who are affected by natural disasters migrated to other areas in search of work .

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