Cooperatives best way to reach out to poor in hinterland: Mukherjee

New Delhi, June 25 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee today said that cooperatives are perhaps the best way of reaching out into the vast hinterland of the country where poor and marginalized people live.

Inaugurating the 16th Indian Cooperative Congress here, Mukherjee said that cooperatives must receive recognition as an important sector of the economy that serves marginalized and weaker sections.

"Cooperatives must be made commercially viable and used effectively in areas where cooperatives can make an impact such as rural health, education, credit, water-harvesting, precision farming, tourism, communication and hospitality etc," he said.

"They must not only figure prominently in our efforts to achieve inclusive development, they must also retain their character of being locally driven "by the members, for the members and from among the members". Top-down approaches should be avoided and local initiatives encouraged," he added.

Mukherjee also said that it is in the institutions of co-operatives that the ideals of democracy and common good come to life.

He said that he believed the need for these ideals in our political, social and economic lives has never been stronger. The theme for the Congress- "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World" was therefore most appropriate, he said

On the occasion a book "Cooperative Surge Ahead" was released and its first copy was presented to the President.

Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Odisha Governor SC Jamir and Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal. (ANI)

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