History Of Co-operatives In Kerala

The British East India Company miserably exploited India by absorbing all her resources during pre-independent period. After independence earnest steps were taken to make her healthy in every respects. It was generally admitted by the Architects of India that co-operatives can act as an effective media for the socio-economic reconstruction of the country. Hence attempts were made by the Planning Commission to develop the co-operative movement as a self reliant one by augmenting the resources through mobilisation of savings in urban and rural areas, promoting integrated rural development by strengthening the links between credit, supply of inputs, processing, marketing and distribution of essential commodities and developing of weaker sections of the community.

The growth of Co-operative movement in Kerala was insignificant during pre-independent era. Only 1669 co-operatives were functioning in the state with a total working capital of Rs.92.21 lakhs. The membership and paid up share capital were Rs.2.05 and Rs. 31.79 lakhs respectively. Credit and non-credit operations during the period were also nominal. Loan disbursed during the year 1946 was Rs.10.62 lakhs only. Performance in the area of Consumer, Marketing etc. were also not remarkable when compared to the exquisite achievements during the succeeding years. A comparative statement of performance of the sector during pre and post-Independent era is shown in Annexure-I.

Before the formation of State of Kerala, Co-operatives under the area were administered by the Travancore Co-operative Societies Act V of 1112(M.E), Cochin Co-operative Societies Act XXVI of 1113(M.E) and Madras Co-operative Societies Act 1932. After the integration of Travancore and Cochin, Travancore-Cochin Co-operative Societies Act 1951 came into force with effect from 1.9.1952. After the formation of Kerala State, the Kerala Co-operative Societies Act of 1969 came into force with effect from15.5.1969 in order to enact a uniform law on co-operation applicable throughout the State. Consequent on the introduction of Kerala Co-operative Societies Act 1969, Societies with unlimited liability ceased to exist and societies with limited liability came into existence. Thereafter Government of Kerala passed the Kerala Co-operative (Amendment) Act 1999 which came into force with effect from 1.1.2000. Providing of membership to local body institutions, Deposit guarantee scheme in Primary Agricultural Credit Societies, Consortium Lending Scheme, Co-operative Development and Welfare Fund, Independent Election Commission, Separate Audit Wing and Vigilance Wing, and Co-operative Examination Board are the new provisions made in the Amendment Act.



The Department of Co-operation is headed by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies. At the Headquarters, the Registrar of Co-operative societies is assisted by four Additional Registrars of co-operative societies, two Joint Registrars, one Law Officer and one finance officer and a Research Officer. One Additional Registrar of co-operative societies is in charge of Credit wing and the second Additional Registrar looks after Consumer wing, and the third Additional Registrar is in charge of General administration and matters in respect of Circle Co-operative unions and publicity, and the fourth Additional Registrar is in charge of co-operative Information Bureau  and Integrated Co-operative Development Project (ICDP) respectively.

Out of the two Joint Registrars in Head Office, one Joint Registrar is in charge of matters relating to the Marketing and Processing Co-operative Societies and other Joint Registrar is in charge looks into the matter pertaining to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Co-operative Societies in the State. The Law officer and Finance Officer who are on deputation from the secretariat advise the Registrar of Co-operative societies on matters relating to legal aspects and finance matters respectively.

Besides the above officers, 7 Deputy Registrars of Co-operative societies, 13 Assistant Registrars of Co-operative Societies, one Research officer from Economics and Statistics Department, One Editor Cum-Press Relation officer and one PA to Registrar of co-operative societies are working at the head quarters.

One Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Societies is working as intermediately officer of the ICDP Section in the headquarters.

In head office there were 24 sections. They are:-

  1. Establishment-A (EA)
  2. Establishment-B (EB)
  3. Accounts
  4. IT Division
  5. Fin A
  6. Fin B
  7. Employees Matters of Co-operative Institutions (EM)
  8. Marketing and processing- I
  9. Marketing and processing -II
  10. H V/M T
  11. Consumer (CS)
  12. Inspection Cell
  13. General
  14. Vigilance
  15. Publication and Training (PT)
  16. Scheduled Caste/Tribes (SCT)
  17. Credit Long Term (CLT)
  18. Credit general (CG)
  19. Credit banking (CB)
  20. Credit primaries (CP)
  21. Integrated co-operative development Project (I C D P)
  22. Planning & Monitoring (P&M)
  23. Statistics (ST).
  24. Co-operative Information Bureau

A Co-operative Information Bureau is functioning at the head office and a monthly publication Sahakarana Veedhi is published regularly by the Bureau. The Editor cum Press  Relation Officer leads the Bureau.

The Statistical Wing is manned by the staff from the Department of Economics and Statistics.


A directorate of co-operative audit is constituted which is headed by director of Co-operative Audit who is an IAS/IAAS officer.  The director is assisted by one Additional Director, one Joint Director, One Deputy Director, One Assistant Director and Seven Auditors of Co-Operative societies.  The Directorate is engaged with audit of all co-operative institutions in the state.

A Co-Operative vigilance office is constituted to investigate all cases of misappropriation, corruption and major irregularities in Co-Operative societies. It is headed by DIG of Police assisted by three DYSPs, three C.I.s and police constables.  It has three zonal offices at Alleppy, Thrissur and Kannur. The Office of Co-Operative Vigilance Officer is in charge of a Joint Registrar of Co-Operative Societies.

In the district there are two wings that  is General and Audit. One Joint Registrar (General) and one Joint Director (Audit) are headed the above two wings respectively. At Taluk level one Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Societies for General Administration and one Assistant Director of Co-operative Societies, for audit of Co-operative Societies is functioning.

One Assistant  Registrar of Co-operative Societies is working as Liaison Officer attached to the Joint Registrar (General) Ernakulam, to liaison the work with the Advocate General in respect of O.P s filed before the Hon.  High Court  of Kerala.

Services of 9 Deputy Registrars of Co-operative Societies and 23 Co-operative Inspectors are rendered to the State Co-Operative Union for working as Principals and Lecturers respectively in the 9 Co-operative Training Centers run by State Co-operative union on free services.

A vigilance wing is functioning in the Department and 1 Deputy Registrars all over the state look after/conducts Inspections in the Co-operative Societies.  A part from this an inspection cell headed by two Deputy Registrar constituted for Inspection mainly in Apex, central and Urban Banks.

A Co-operative Tribunal is also functioning as an appellate authority on the awards issued by the Departmental Arbitrators. The Tribunal is appointed from the judicial service and should be a judge not below the rank of District and Session judge.

Government vide GO (P) 1/03dt. 02.01.03 had constituted Co-operative Arbitration Court headed by one presiding officer to hear and dispose all Non-Monetary disputes in the state.

A Co-operative Election commission constituted vide G.O (Ms) 109/01/co-op DT. 9.11.01 comprising of the following staff is functioning at the Head quarters at Thiruvanamthapuram for conducting election in the credit co-operative societies in the state.

Additional Registrar of co-operative societies /Secretary to commission 1
Senior Inspector of co-operative Societies 1
Upper Division Clerk 1
Lower Division Clerk 1
Confidential Assistant 1
Driver 1
Peon 1

Co-op Principles in Plain Language
The Seven Principles, used by co-operatives world-wide!

  1. All welcome – no pressure
  2. One member = one vote
  3. No Free rides
  4. Self-control, no parents
  5. Share, learn, grown
  6. Together Everyone Achieves More
  7. Building Strong Communities