FDI in retail will open new avenues: CM

Speaking at an award function organised by the co-operative department at Balewadi, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Sunday that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail would open a new door of opportunities for Maharashtra, particularly for farming community and co-operative societies.

Chavan also said co-operative societies need to follow a strict economic discipline if they want to recover from their current financial crisis. "Allowing FDI in retail is UPA's revolutionary decision. The FDI will open new doors of opportunities for a progressive state like Maharashtra. But co-operative societies will have to compete with private and multi-brand players and they should ready themselves for it," said Chavan.

He also said there was a need to amend the State Co-operative Act to ensure compliance with the 97th Constitution (Amendment) Act. "To amend this Act, I have set up an eight-member committee headed by Co-operatives Minister Harshavardhan Patil which will study every aspect of the Act before proposing the amendments," said Chavan.

Chavan also said the state will soon come up with a vision document which will be debated in the next session of the state legislature and will be implemented thereafter.

While pointing out that several co-operative organisations in the state were not doing financially well, he said to improve the condition it was important that the organisations maintain a high standard of financial discipline.

"In 2009-10, there were 123 co-operative sugar factories in the state. In the last two years, as many as 23 co-operative mills have been sold to private companies. Out of 31 district co-operative banks in the state, 12 are incurring losses and six have been served notices. The state co-operative bank was operating for over 60 years but it didn't have a banking licence till April this year. Co-operative organisations will have to be very careful and will have to follow financial discipline to sustain and grow," said Chavan.

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