History of Cooperative

History of the cooperative movement

In 1844 the Rochdale Pioneers founded the modern Cooperative Movement in Lancashire, England, to provide an affordable alternative to poor-quality and adulterated food and provisions, using any surplus to benefit the community. Since then, the cooperative movement has flourished, extending across the globe and encompassing all sectors of economy. 


  • In India cooperation has its origin in the last quarter of 19th Century in attempts to provide relief to the farmers from the clutches of money lenders.

  • The cooperative movement was introduced in India as a State policy and owes its inauguration to the enactment of the Cooperative Societies Act, 1904.

  • In the pre-independence era the movement has passed through various stages of development and has seen ups and downs.

  • The dawn of Independence in 1947 and the advent of planned economic development ushered in a new era for cooperatives. Cooperation came to be considered as an instrument of planned economic development.

  • Our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru was a great admirer of cooperatives and he conceived to convulse the country with cooperation. In five year plans, the agricultural sector was given highest priority and as a result cooperatives registered big expansion in different sectors.

  • Cooperatives play a vital role in the economy of India.

  • At present the Indian Cooperative system is one of the biggest in the whole world. It is one of the strongest pillars on which agriculture and allied sector is flourishing.

  • In India there are 0.85 million cooperative societies of all kinds with membership of 290 million covering almost 100% of villages and 30% national population in membership.

  • About 17 national cooperative societies, 390 state level federations, 2705 district federations and 97961 Primary Agricultural Societies (PACS) leading and guiding the cooperative movement of the country.

Why Cooperatives significant in INDIA?

  • It is an organization for the poor, illiterate and unskilled people

  • It is an institution of mutual help and sharing.

  • It softens the class conflicts and reduces the social cleavages

  • It reduces the bureaucratic evils and follies of political factions.

  • It overcomes the constraints of agricultural development

  • It creates conducive environment for small and cottage industries.

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