Kerala to launch campaign in support of cooperative banks

Kochi, Dec 11 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday said that the government will launch a massive door-to-door campaign on December 18 to tell people the manner in which vested interests are out to destroy the state’s hugely-successful cooperative banking sector.

Vijayan was speaking at a state-level convention here in which top political leaders, barring those of the Bharatiya Janata Party, took part.

Trouble started for the cooperative banking sector in Kerala when the Reserve Bank of India withdrew the permission to cooperative banks to accept the spiked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currencies following their demonetisation announced on November 8.

The cooperative banking sector in Kerala is a three-tier system, with about 1,600 primary cooperative banks attached to 14 district banks, which are further linked to the apex Kerala State Cooperative Bank (KSCB). The total deposits in these cooperative banks is around Rs 1.27 lakh crore.

“We have been time and again saying that there is nothing to hide for the cooperative sector, contrary to what some vested interests have been bad mouthing against this sector. We again say that we are open to any sort of probe by the IT and enforcement department in the way these cooperative banks are functioning,” said Vijayan.

The state BJP is solidly behind the Union government’s move to rein in these cooperative banks and have gone to the extent of saying that these cooperative banks are where the ill-gotten wealth of politicians from the traditional rival fronts are parked.

State Cooperative Minister Kadakampally Surendran told IANS that on December 18, two lakh employees and members of the cooperative movement along with politicians will reach 64 lakh homes in the state to explain the reason why this situation has happened.

“The rural economy of Kerala is in the hands of the cooperative sector and this is what has been attacked by the Centre,” he said.

–IANS

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