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PACS to be computerised for 2,516 crore

The union home minister and minister of cooperation, Amit Shah appreciated the move and said the decision to computerize about 63,000 PACS, which are the smallest unit in the cooperative sector will prove to be a boon for the sector.Premium
The union home minister and minister of cooperation, Amit Shah appreciated the move and said the decision to computerize about 63,000 PACS, which are the smallest unit in the cooperative sector will prove to be a boon for the sector.

  • The objective of increasing efficiency of PACS is to bring transparency and accountability in their operations and facilitating PACS to diversify their business and undertake multiple activities and services

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NEW DELHI : The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the computerization of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) with a budgetary outlay of 2,516 crore.

An official statement said that the objective of increasing efficiency of PACS is to bring transparency and accountability in their operations and facilitating PACS to diversify their business and undertake multiple activities and services. 

“This project proposes computerization of about 63,000 functional PACS over a period of 5 years with a total budget outlay of 2,516 crore with Government of India share of 1,528 crore," it said.

The Primary Agricultural Cooperative credit societies (PACS) constitute the lowest tier of the three-tier short-term cooperative credit (STCC) in the country comprising of around 13 crore farmers as its members, which is crucial for the development of the rural economy. PACS account for 41% (3.01 crore farmers) of the kisan credit card (KCC) loans given by all entities in the country and 95% of these KCC loans (2.95 crore farmers) through PACS are to the small and marginal farmers. 

The other two tiers -- State Cooperative Banks (StCBs) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) have already been automated by the NABARD and brought on Common Banking Software (CBS).

However, majority of PACS have so far been not computerized and still functioning manually resulting in inefficiency and trust deficit, said the statement. 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 Amit Shah, 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 said.

According to the government computerization of PACS, besides serving the purpose of financial inclusion and strengthening service delivery to farmers especially small and marginal farmers (SMFs) will also will become nodal service delivery point for various services and provision of inputs like fertilizers, seeds among others. The project will help in improving the outreach of the PACS as outlets for banking activities as well as non-banking activities apart from improving digitalisation in rural areas.

The project comprises of development of 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. This software will be in vernacular language having flexibility of customisation as per the needs of the states. 

Project Management Units (PMUs) will be set up at central and state levels. District Level Support will also be provided at cluster of about 200 PACS. In the case of states where computerization of PACS has been completed, 50,000 per PACS will be reimbursed provided they agree to integrate with or adopt the common software, their hardware meets the required specifications, and the software was commissioned after February 1, 2017.

The union home minister and minister of cooperation, Amit Shah appreciated the move and said the decision to computerize about 63,000 PACS, which are the smallest unit in the cooperative sector will prove to be a boon for the sector. 

A statement from the ministry of cooperation said that the decision will also help PACS to become a nodal center for providing various services such as Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS), Crop Insurance Scheme (PMFBY) and inputs like fertilizers and seeds.

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