While reviewing the working of the Cooperative Department Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal stressed upon regular audit and inspections of the cooperative societies to ensure their smooth functioning so that people get maximum benefits from the cooperatives in the State. He said that efforts would be made to revive Mandi Urban Cooperative Bank by taking up the matter with Reserve Bank of India.

Chief Minister said that the Mandi Urban Cooperative Bank had been closed down eight years back due to mis-management of the bank as a result of which huge amount of depositors was duped. He said that his Government had taken up the matter with Union Ministry of Finance and Reserve Bank of India soon after taking over to revive the bank keeping in view the interests of depositors who had invested in different schemes of the Bank. He said that interests of the depositors were dear to the Government and all out efforts would be made to protect them. He said that although the banking services in the State was gradually increasing and more branches were being opened in rural areas. He said that besides the services being rendered by nationalized banks, local banks also play their own role since they were deeply rooted in the economic activities of the respective areas.

Prof. Dhumal said that the Government had taken a decision to provide 33 percent reservation to women in cooperative societies with a view to actively involve them in the cooperative movement in the State. He said that Himachal Pradesh had emerged a pioneer in providing 50 percent reservation to women in panchayati raj institutions and 33 percent reservation in cooperative societies would be another big leap towards women empowerment in the State. He said that the State Government was implementing its Integrated Cooperative Development Projects flagship programme in the districts of Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Sirmour to revitalize the cooperative sector by providing need based assistance to cooperatives for construction of stores, shops, computerization, working capital etc. He said that three more such projects had been proposed for Kangra, Shimla and Kullu districts where detailed project report was likely to be finalized by July this year to launch the same formally thereafter. He said that revival, reform and restructuring package for handloom sector was under consideration of the Government of India to provide gainful employment.

Chief Minister said that the State would be celebrating International Year of Cooperatives-2012 as decided by the United Nations by organizing seminars and other activities so as to create mass awareness about the cooperative movement in the State. He directed the Cooperative Department to advise all thrift and credit societies to apply for license to Reserve Bank of India to ensure that the deposits of the people were safe with them. He underlined the need for effective recovery of the loans advanced by the societies and ensure that Agricultural Rural Development Bank advance fresh loans only out of recoveries it had made.

Prem Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, welcomed the Chief Minister and thanked him for convening the Review Meeting of Cooperative Department. R.D.Nazeem, Registrar of Cooperative Societies, conducted proceedings of the meeting and apprised the Chief Minister of the achievements and future programmes to strengthen the cooperative sector in the State. He also detailed the initiatives taken by the department during past four years. S.Roy, Chief Secretary, Dr. Srikant Baldi, Principal Secretary Finance, Bharti Sihag, Principal Secretary, Industries, B.M.Nanta, Managing Director, HP State Civil Supplies Corporation, H.S.Thakur and Pankaj Lalit, Additional Registrar of Cooperative Societies and other senior officers of different departments were present in the meeting.