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Cooperative sector to play important role in making India 3rd largest economy: Gujarat CM

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Deodar, Jan 15 (PTI) Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Monday said the cooperative sector is the best way to strengthen the rural economy and asserted it would play an important role in making India the world's third largest economy.

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He was speaking at an event in Deodar village in Gujarat's Banaskantha district after inaugurating and laying the foundation stones of various projects of Banas Dairy and Banas Bank.

"Under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has become the fifth largest economy in the world and is marching forward to be the third largest economy. I firmly believe the cooperative sector will play an important role in it," Patel said in his address.

"Recently, the state government organised the 10th edition of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. Our focus was on emerging and future technologies such as green energy, hydrogen energy and semiconductor. At the same time, we are also focussing on the rural economy. The cooperative sector is the best way to strengthen the rural economy," he said.

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The governance of cooperative banks has improved significantly after such banks came under the purview of the Reserve Bank of India and it has increased depositor's confidence, the CM asserted.

Central government's services related to agriculture, banking and animal husbandry are now being available in villages with the help of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), said Patel.

"Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah has always stressed on developing PACS as multi-service centres. Thanks to his efforts, PACS are serving as common services centres in the country. In the coming days, PACS will provide various other services, such as selling generic medicines," he said.

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"In the near future, PACS will turn into mini-cooperative offices and they will be governed locally through the cooperative structure. Though cooperative structure has existed in India since long, it was PM Modi who came up with this idea of utilizing PACS for providing benefits to people living in every corner of the country," said Patel.

Banas Bank, along with Gujarat State Cooperative Bank (GSC Bank), has opened 180 ATMs and 1,700 micro ATMs in the state so far to help people get door-step banking facilities, said the CM.

"Today we are launching a pilot project under which PACS will function as 'Bank Mitra' in Banaskantha and Panchmahal districts. The aim of this project is to make farmers and cattle-rearers become part of the formal economy by providing them banking services," he said.

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Banas Dairy has started a project to convert gobar bas (biogas) into hydrogen, said the CM. He also laid the foundation stone for Banas Bovine Breeding & Research Centre (BBBRC) being established at an estimated cost of Rs 324 crores to improve the productivity of native Indian breeds of cows and buffaloes.

During the function, Patel launched a scheme wherein credit of up to Rs 50,000 interest-free will be given to cattle rearers through Kisan Credit Card.

The CM also inaugurated Banas Dairy's 'atta' plant in Palanpur and a whey protein plant. PTI PJT BNM BNM

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