History of Pre Independence Co-Operative Movement in India
   

 
 
 
History of Pre Independence Co-Operative Movement in India 
 
The Co-operative Movement in India was born out of the distress and turmoil that prevailed in the last quarter of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution had given a death blow to village industries and driven people to agriculture, the only avenue of employment and livelihood. The consequent sub-division and fragmentation of holdings had made agriculture an uneconomic proposition. The principle of co-operation is as old as human society and it forms the basis of domestic and social life. It is certainly a group instinct in man which enables him to live together, work together and help each other in times of stress and strain. The history of modern civilization is in fact the history of co-operation, for without it social and economic progress would have been impossible.
 
 
Period of 1904-1911 is considered to be initial period of cooperative movement.
 
In olden days non- institutional agencies in the shape of money-lenders were charging exorbitant rates of interest from the helpless peasants. The situation was such that the farmers were forced to sell their belongings to repay the debts. In some parts of the country especially in Pune and Ahmednagar the farmers spearheaded an agitation against the moneylenders.Ultimately the government understood the miserable plight of the farmers and passed three Acts viz, the Deccan Agriculture Relief Act (1879), the Land Improvement Loan Act (1883) and the Agriculturists Loan Act (1884). The Famine Commission of 1901 strongly recommended that in order to prevent famine, agriculturists should be granted loans to improve agriculture. By 1904, the Co-operative Society Act was passed.
 
 
The expansion stage of cooperative movement 
 
Under the Montague- Chelmsford Act of 1919, co-operation became a provincial subject which gave further impetus to the movement. Various states passed their own Acts to make co-operative movement a successful one. The membership of the co-operative societies increased considerably during this period.
The same period also witnessed the birth of co-operative land mortgage banks first in Punjab and subsequently land mortgage banks were registered in Madras (1925) and Bomaby (1926). The year 1929 witnessed a worldwide economic depression.
 
 
Restructuring phase was started from 1930 
 
Vijayaraghava Charya Committee in Madras, Rehabilitation Enquiry Committees of Travancore and Mysore, Kale Committee in Gwalior, Mehta and Bhansali Committee in Bombay and Wace Committee in Punjab etc. were appointed for examining the possibilities of restructuring the co-operative societies.
The Indian Central Banking Enquiry Committee (1931) highlighted the glaring lacunae, particularly with reference to undue delays and inadequacy of credit. Meanwhile the Madras Co-operative Societies Act of 1932 and the Madras Co-operative Land Mortgage Banks Act of 1934 came into force with the former aiming at the growth of co-operative movement, while the latter for developing the long term credit. Later movement was stuck in World War II. During the period from 1939 to 1949 Independence movement was sidelined. After independence cooperative movement was rebutted in all over India with help of political backing and institutional structure.