Mumbai, 26th Jan 2013: "Citizens are not generally aware of many schemes that MCGM has initiated to empower economically weak sections, especially for womenfolk," said Assistant Municipal Commissioner (P-South) Ramakant Biradar here on Thursday. He was speaking at a large public meeting held at Somanigram, Oshiwara, Goregaon West to motivate and assist the local people to form cooperative enterprises for their own economic upliftment, and also to manage their localities. "If you can manage 20 percent seed capital for starting your own cooperative enterprise such as tailoring, MCGM will assist you with the balance 80 percent," he said, addressing the women in the gathering.
The meeting was organized by RTI activist Sulaiman Bhimani on behalf of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MSWA) on the theme "Kaise Badhayen Aamdani, Sahakari Udyog Ke Saath" (How to increase income with cooperative enterprises). MSWA chairman Ramesh Prabhu spoke about how the 97th Constitutional Amendment passed in January 2012 enabled much-needed reforms to the cooperative sector. "If anybody wises to start a cooperative enterprise, he can approach us for free guidance, mentoring and assistance," said Prabhu.
Download gazette of 97th amendment: http://tinyurl.com/97th-Amendment
Download PDF file about Positive Implications of Amendment: http://tinyurl.com/97th-Amendment-India
Assistant Police Commissioner Uttam Aba Khermode urged the local youth to join the police force, and explained the criteria and process of selection. He also encouraged the women to move around in the city without fear. "Mumbai police is far more capable in handling anti-social elements, and incidents like the ones that happened in Delhi will not occur in our city," ACP Khermode said confidently. "If you are not happy with your experience when you register a complaint at any police station, please approach me without hesitation," he added.
As Somanigram is a poor people's locality, full of SRA colonies, the main objective of the meeting was enabling increase of people's income by coming together in cooperative societies. "If a dozen onion and potato pheriwallahs (hawkers) form a cooperative enterprise, they can increase their income by Rs 500 per day, while making onions more cheaply available to the residents', said Sulaiman Bhimani. "Unemployed youths, housewives, senior citizens, rickshaw and tempo drivers, plumbers and other service providers can all benefit by forming a cooperative enterprise. We will help them in various ways and make their job easier."
Referring to Local Area Citizens Groups (LACGs) mooted by MCGM in 2006, activist Krishnaraj Rao said, "Neighbourhood-level cooperative societies specially formed for the purpose can also play the role of LACGs more effectively than associations. The electoral reforms and right to information embedded in the 97th amendment will improve the social usefulness of the cooperative sector," he added. "Common citizens should not just criticize the government, MCGM and police, they should participate in the process of governance. Forming cooperatives to take ownership of our localities is a perfect way for all of us to take leadership and exercise ownership of our shared open spaces," Krishnaraj argued.
MSWA has 30,000 member cooperative societies in Mumbai, to which it provides legal advice, accounting services, assistance in deemed conveyance etc. It has a decade of experience in the cooperative sector, which is being leveraged for the CSE initiative.