Use modern technology in cooperative activities: PM

As any developed cooperative management system is considered as a benefit-yielding mechanism, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today pleaded for utilizing the modern information technology in cooperative management system to ensure the country's development.

We can advance our country through cooperatives by developing the cooperative management system. It needs utilization of the modern information technology availing the advantage of Digital Bangladesh, she said.

The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the 48th National Cooperative Day and awarding the recipients of the National Cooperative Award of 2018.

Sheikh Hasina said: I have already inaugurated e-commerce for selling the cooperative goods. People are now doing business even sitting in their homes at villages using the modern technology.

Stressing the need for strengthening the cooperative movement activities across the country to ensure the overall development, the Prime Minister said the existing cooperative and Samabaya Bank laws should be made time-befitting to give a boost to their activities.

Our existing cooperative law should be made time-befitting. The Samabaya Bank has fallen on its face, so the related law requires to be updated to make the organization profitable, she said.

The premier also laid emphasis on giving proper training to the people involved in cooperative activities to enable them to cope with the changing trend of the global business.

She, however, advocated for ensuring transparency and accountability of the people engaged in cooperative activities to ensure its best use for the uplift of its beneficiaries.

Department of Cooperatives under the Ministry of LGRD and Cooperatives organized the event at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here in the capital.

LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tajul Islam, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on LGRD and Cooperatives Ministry Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, and its State Minister Swapan Bhattacharjeee addressed the function as the special guests.

Secretary of Rural Development and Cooperatives, Md. Kamal Uddin Talukder, Registrar and Director General of Department of Cooperatives, Md Aminul Islam and President of Bangladesh Cooperative Union, Sheikh Nadir Hossain Lipu, also spoke at the function.

A video documentary was also screened on the development of Bangladesh and cooperatives at the function.

Earlier, the premier handed over the National Cooperative Award of 2018 to 10 cooperative societies and individuals in different categories for their contributions to the sector.

Later, the premier joined a photo session with the award recipients.

She, earlier, visited different stalls set up on the BICC premises by various cooperative societies on the occasion following inauguration of e-commerce site for the trade of cooperatives goods.

This year's theme of the National Cooperative Day is Development through Cooperatives-the Philosophy of Bangabandhu.

Laying stress on the use of ICT in the cooperative sector for overall development of cooperative particularly establishing a transparent and accountable management, Sheikh Hasina said, We have brought all the offices of the Cooperative Department under the ICT network.

On marketing of cooperative goods, she said, It is essential to ensure marketing of the cooperative goods. Everyone will be benefited if the marketing system is developed through cooperative system (as the carrying expenses will be reduced). Proper marketing of the goods will encourage people to engage in cooperative society which helps reducing poverty.

The prime minister went on saying, If we can ensure the best use of cooperative system, the agriculture will be benefited the most as no land across the country will be left out of cultivation for which food security would be ensured.

In this regard, she recalled Father of the Nation Bangaabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as he used to say that if aials (barriers that separate land) between the lands across the country could be erased a greater district (like Faridpur) would be emerged.

We should go for cultivation in a cooperative manner to use every piece of land, she opined.

The premier said her government has made the country self-reliant in food production through conducting research to this end despite having limited land.

About the contribution of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for development of cooperatives, she said, Bangabandhu encouraged cooperative-based production and distribution management in all sectors including agriculture and land management, industrial initiatives and agricultural credit.

Bangabandhu incorporated the cooperatives as the second sector of ownership in the Article 13 of the Constitution and he (Bangabandhu) is also the founder of Milk Vita � a national level leading co-operatives of Bangladesh, she said.

The Father of the Nation wanted to utilize people's concerted initiatives through village-based co-operatives to make use of the people's development, she said, adding that Bangabandhu initiated Agricultural Cooperatives, Fishery Co-operatives, Weavers Cooperatives and Industrial Co-operative Society with respective class of poor people for their socio-economic development.

The premier added: We are giving utmost priority on cooperatives following the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for overall socioeconomic development of the people particularly the rural ones.

We are working to reach civic amenities to the village people as the grassroots people are the focal point of our massive development works being carried out across the country, she said.

Spelling out various initiatives undertaken by her government for the development of cooperative, the prime minister said, Cooperative has a great potential strength in our development efforts. Currently there are about 1.74 lakh cooperative societies in Bangladesh with a total of 10.9 million members.

We are creating income generation systems for rural people without migrating to the urban areas. We are implementing various development projects to ensure civic facilities to the rural level, she said.

On taking Ashrayan project for implementing the government's aim to leave no people without home, the premier said, We will live no people without home. As many as 2,98,249 families have been rehabilitated under the Ashrayan project.

Besides, they have been provided loan worth Taka 103. 57 crore through the Cooperative Department to make them self-reliant, she said.

About the My House, My Farm, project she said, The name of the project was A farm, A House and she later renamed it as My House, My Farm.

Sheikh Hasina said A total of 1, 5 0723 village development societies have been formed in 87,200 villages through the project. Beneficiary member households are over 47 lakhs.

The government is implementing the 'Comprehensive Village Development Project' for the development of village based cooperative societies where cooperative members are being provided with appropriate training, she stated.

The premier said, Our government is implementing various co-operative projects for the development of dairy sector. We have successfully implemented 'Cooperative Based Milk Production Project' and 'Poverty reduction project of greater Faridpur, Barisal and Khulna districts through expansion of dairy co-operative activities.

Feed Production Plant has been set up in Lahiri Mohanpur. Artificial breeding centers of buffalo for increasing milk production have also been set up, she also said.

Sheikh Hasina said that powder Milk Plants at Baghbari Ghat in Sirajganj and Patia, Chottogram have already been established successfully, adding that Recently, another dairy plant project is underway in Faridpur.

We put emphasis on the development of backward and under-privileged people of the country. We have taken measures for the livelihood developments of Garo community and small ethnic groups, she informed.

Sheikh Hasina said Besides, for the development of the underprivileged women, currently we are implementing a project where beneficiaries are getting interest free, collateral free, long-term loan of Tk.120,000 each.

The premier said through the Palli Daridra Bimochan Foundation (PDBF), the government has implemented 10 projects to develop rural infrastructure and the livelihood of the poor people.

The premier said, We are progressing and we will progress towards building the Golden Bangladesh free from poverty and hunger as dreamt by the Father of the Nation. Bangladesh will definitely be a developed and prosperous country in the days to come.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)