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India: Re-inventing cooperatives by increasing youth involvement

Dec 04, 2010

The National Cooperatives Union of India convened an inter-school quiz competition during its week-long celebration of the Cooperative Week from November 14-20. The event aimed to increase awareness and participation of India’s youth in the country’s cooperative movement.

The cooperative movement has a rich and vibrant history in India. The seeds of cooperation in India were sown in 1904 when the first Cooperative Societies Act was passed. Since then, a variety of government policies and programmes have aided the movement’s spread to the remotest corners of the nation.

Recognising the potential and energy of the country’s youth, the National Cooperative Union of India, which is the apex cooperative body in the country, is seeking to spread awareness about the critical role that cooperatives have played, both socially and economically.

To that end, the NCUI celebrates Cooperative Week every year, from November 14 to November 20. ‘Addressing Climate Change through Cooperatives’ was decided as the theme for this year’s Cooperative Week. NCUI is also making significant efforts to popularize the cooperative model among women, youth and disadvantaged sections of the society.

The COOP CONNECT Forum of National Cooperative Union of India organised Inter-School Quiz Contest as a key component of the celebrations in which top schools of Delhi and NCR participated. The quiz was to test the students on their knowledge of cooperatives and various other subjects.

The objective of the event was to generate awareness about cooperatives amongst the school children of the country. The event was attended by around 400 school children, teachers, and other dignitaries from various sectors.

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Youth and Cooperatives

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Cooperatives and India


Dr Chandra Pal Singh, President, NCUI in his welcome address, said that the cooperative sector has immense potentialities to involve youth in its functioning. “School children should be made aware of India’s vibrant cooperative sector and our youth should be encouraged to take active part in the cooperative movement.”

He said that National Cooperative Union of India is effectively lobbying with HRD Ministry and NCERT so that Cooperation as a distinct subject emerges in the school syllabus.

“By increasing participation of youth, we can ensure that our country’s cooperative movement will be young and energetic forever. An energetic and active in turn, positively impacts the lives of a larger number of people”, Singh added.

Dr. Shyama Chona, Padma Vibhushan and a well known educationist inaugurated the event. She encouraged school children to think of cooperatives as a strong career option after their schooling. She also urged them to appreciate the values of cooperatives.

Anita Manchanda, Chief Executive, NCUI, remarked “Students these days are getting more excited about opportunities in the cooperative sector and are eager to learn more. I am sure that in the coming years, they will participate in a big way”

The NCUI along with Government of India is running various professional courses to increase the opportunities for gainful employment of young people. These include programmes in business management and entrepreneurship and facilitate youth participation in decision-making in co-operatives; or motivate them to form their own co-operatives.

A statistical report of NCUI for year 2009 states that there are 8137 student cooperatives in India with a working capital of Rs. 11,110.07 Lakh. India has more than 5.95 lakh cooperatives having 97 per cent coverage in rural areas.

The inter-school quiz competition concluded with Amity International Gurgaon bagging the first prize, Mount Carmel School, Anand Niketan - the second prize and GD Goenka Public School, Vasant Kunj - the third prize. Collaborators for the event were OneWorld Foundation India, Learning Links Foundation and Afro-Asian Business Chronicle.

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