ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Co-operative Sugar Factories in Maharashtra

With more than one-third of the co-operative sugar factories in the state being sick, the Maharashtra government had appointed an expert committee to go into the reasons for the sickness and to suggest remedial measures. In view of the importance of the co-operative sugar industry for Maharashtra’s economy as well as the relevance of the expert committee’s recommendations for co-operative sugar factories in a number of other states, these recommendations deserve to be discussed widely.

A number of sectors of the economy have remained untouched by the winds of economic liberalisation and globalisation which are sweeping the country for nearly a decade since 1991. The co-operative sector is one of them. This is particularly worrisome since co-operatives play an important role in the economy of a number of states. Maharashtra is in the forefront of these states.

As on June 30, 1961, co-operative institutions of various kinds – agricultural and non-agricultural primary co-operative societies, marketing societies, processing co-operative societies and others – in Maharashtra totalled 31,565. This number progressively went up to 60,747 (1981) and 1,04,620 (1991). By March 31, 1998, the number had gone up to 1,40,858. It increased further to 1,46,641 by March 31, 1999. The number of members of these co-operatives was 3.86 crore. The equity capital was Rs 4,247 crore. Their own funds were as large as Rs 7,000 crore. The deposits with co-operatives of various kinds were Rs 33,154 crore. The working capital was Rs 64,136 crore and they had disbursed loans worth Rs 18,934 crore.1

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