India’s co-operative movement largest in the world: Fernandes

June 7th, 2008 - 12:58 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) India has more than 500,000 co-operative societies to cater to the needs of workers, making it one of the largest in the world, Minister of State for Labour Oscar Fernandes has said. Speaking at the 97th International Labour Conference in Geneva, Fernandes said: “In India, workers in the informal economy have been enjoying the rights of collective bargaining by forming co-operative societies.”

“It has been observed that when workers of unorganized sectors join a co-operative society the power of collective bargaining increases manifold.”

In a statement issued by the ministry here, he said as agriculture continues to be an extremely important sector of India’s economy, the cooperative system is crucial for the transformation of agriculture.

“With a reach of more than half a million co-operative societies covering almost every village of the country, the Indian co-operative movement is one of the largest people’s movement in the world,” the minister added.

“It’s heartening to note that trade unions at national and international level are playing an important role in ensuring the workers welfare by exercising collective bargaining rights.”

The minister said India appreciates efforts made by international workers organisations to promote freedom of associations and collective bargaining rights.

He said though India fulfils all obligations and protects rights of workers it is unable to ratify two conventions of the International Labour Organisation - Freedom of associations (convention 87) and collective bargaining (Convention 98).

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