Cabinet approves computerization of 63,000 operational Primary Agriculture Credit Societies . PACS is the lowest tier of the three-tier short-term cooperative credit (STCC) in India .
NEW DELHI: The Cabinet approved the computerization of 63,000 operational Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS) around the country on Wednesday, saving Rs 2,516 crore in five years.The initiative, which is expected to benefit 13 crore farmers around the region, will place such credit societies on a common platform at national level by way of a Common Accounting Framework (CAS) for their day-to-day activities.The PACS is the lowest tier of the three-tier short-term cooperative credit (STCC) in India, consisting of farmers as its members.The whole country's Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loan market currently accounts for 41% (3.01 crore farmers).In a series of tweets, Union home and cooperation minister Amit Shah praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his initiative, saying that the adoption of PACS would enhance their transparency, reliability, and efficiency, as well as the ability to record multipurpose PACS in this digital age.For the sake of the people, the software would be available in local languages, according to him.PACS will also be able to grow into a nodal center for delivering various services such as Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS), Crop Insurance Scheme (PMFBY), and inputs such as fertilizers and seeds, according to the organization.State Cooperative Banks (SCBs) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs), which have already been automated by the NABARD and incorporated into Common Banking Software (CBS), are the other two tiers of short-term cooperative credit, as well as PACS. Nonetheless, there is no uniformity in the programs used by them, and they are not in sync with the DCCBs and SCBs.In a statement issued following the cabinet's decision, PACS will not only serve the purpose of financial inclusion and strengthening service delivery to farmers, especially small & marginal farmers (SMFs), but will also become a nodal service delivery point for diverse services and supply of inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, etc.The initiative, according to the organization, would help in expanding the PACS' reach as outlets for financial transactions as well as non-banking activities, as well as improving digitalization in rural areas.The DCCBs can then choose to enroll themselves as one of the vital choices for implementing various government schemes (where credit and subsidy are involved) that can be accomplished by PACS. Officials in the ministry said that the PACS's scope would be extended in the near future by enforcing certain bye-laws in consultation with state governments.For discussion and adoption, the ministry may share draft bye-laws with the states.The computerization initiative involves the creation of cloud-based common applications that support cybercrime and data storage, as well as hardware support for the PACS, as well as data digitization of existing documents, including maintenance support and training.In the cases of states where the automated PACS has been implemented, Rs 50,000 per PACS will be reimbursed if the states agree to integrate with the standard programs.