| Experiences From Asias Rural Co-Operatives Workshop report 9 |
|Abstracts of papers|
by MV Madane
The ultimate goal of any co-operative up to the highest level of the ladder is to serve the primary member. The, viability analysis should invariably be done in the context of this basic co-operative factor, viz., the member.
Some other assumptions have also to be taken into consideration while discussing viability. These are: firstly, the co-operatives are essentially economic organisations and hence they have to make each activity economically viable; secondly, the co-operatives are democratically run institutions; this entails their functioning within the framework of the common will of the people, who constitute the co-operative. Thirdly, the co-operatives have to maintain their non-exploitative character, in all their dealings with members and others.
The above assumptions can apply to many organisations outside the Co-operative Movement. Then what are the special aspects, that distinguish the co-operatives from such other institutions. The distinguishing aspects are: firstly, the co-operatives are guided by ethical standards in their business; and, secondly, they do not stop after passing on the economic benefits to members, but go beyond in order to care and look after the total needs of the members and their families. Integration of all services this is an essential factor in co-operative functioning. There are several examples where the benefits derived from a co-operative service are nullified due to the absence of other related services from the same co-operative. For example, most of the primary co-operatives provide production credit and other inputs to their members, but fail to market the produce thereby compelling the members to go the private traders to dispose off their marketable surplus.