The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved computerisation of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) with the aim of increasing efficiency of PACS, bringing transparency and accountability in their operations.
This project proposes computerization of about 63,000 functional PACS over a period of five years with a total budget outlay of Rs 2,516 crore with the central government’s share of Rs 1,528 crore.
Sources in the Ministry of Cooperation (MoC) said the government was also working on model bylaws for these societies which states would be expected to emulate even as it planned to rejuvenate defunct societies and had kept a target of setting up 3 lakh PACS across the country.
The Primary Agricultural Cooperative credit societies (PACS) constitute the lowest tier of the three-tier short-term cooperative credit (STCC) in India comprising of nearly 13 crore crore farmers as its members.
“PACS account for 41 % (3.01 Cr. farmers) of the KCC loans given by all entities in the country and 95 % of these KCC loans (2.95 Cr. farmers) through PACS are to the small and marginal farmers. The other two tiers viz. State Cooperative Banks (StCBs) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) have already been automated by the NABARD and brought on Common Banking Software (CBS),” the Cabinet said in a statement.
“However, majority of PACS have so far been not computerized and still functioning manually resulting in inefficiency and trust deficit. In some of the states, standalone and partial computerization of PACS has been done. There is no uniformity in the software being used by them and they are not interconnected with the DCCBs and StCBs. Under the able guidance of Shri Amit Shah, Hon’ble Minister of Home and Cooperation, it has been proposed to computerize all the PACS throughout the Country and bring them on a common platform at National level and have a Common Accounting System (CAS) for their day to day business,” it added.
“PACS will become nodal service delivery point for interest subvention scheme (ISS), PM Fasal Beema Yojana, Direct Benefit Transfer and provision of inputs like fertilisers, seeds etc. It will ensure speedy disposal of loans, lower transition cost, faster audit and reduction in imbalances in payments and accounting with SCBs and DCBs,” the Ministry of Cooperation statement said.
The project comprises of development of a cloud based common software with cyber security and data storage, providing hardware support to the PACS, digitization of existing records including maintenance support and training.
The union Cabinet was also apprised of a Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The agreement was signed in January 2022.
“The areas of cooperation as envisaged in the Strategic Partnership Agreement will support India in achieving its ambitious target of 500 GW of installed non-fossil fuel electricity capacity by 2030. This in-turn will promote Atmanirbhar Bharat,” the statement said.
It was also apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Government of the Republic of Singapore on Cooperation in the fields of Science, Technology and Innovation. The MoU was signed in February 2022.