The Department of Cooperation, Government of Andhra Pradesh had played a profound role in the past 45 years of Andhra Pradesh Statehood, in shaping the functioning of the Cooperative Societies in the State, though the Cooperatives are autonomous institutions with legal status. In the emerging environment, the policy of the Government has been to regulate and not to control and direct the Cooperative Societies through the enactment of Legislation. Creating a conducive climate for growth of Cooperatives is another avowed policy of the present day Government. There are two Acts in existence pertaining to the regulation of the Cooperatives-one is the old Act , i.e., A.P. Cooperative Societies Act VII of 1964, the prohibitions of which are considered necessary for such cooperatives which have depended on the support from the Govt. and consequential intervention in the governance. However even this Act has been substantially amended in the year 2001, duly aiming at promoting the cooperatives in accordance with the principles of cooperation and at reducing the Government control to some extent.

The second Act is A.P. Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies (MACS) Act of 1995, which aims at promoting self-reliant, responsible, accountable and autonomous Cooperative Societies with their own bye-laws, which would make the Cooperative Movement more vibrant. Though it is the Cooperatives with which their members have interaction for better services and benefits, the Department of Cooperation recognizes the rights of the Members-cum-Service Users of these Cooperatives for freedom from disputes with their own Cooperatives and freedom of access to information. The Department also recognizes the rights of the Cooperatives as such for services spelled in the Acts for their efficient functioning in the process of realizing their goals.

The Department of Cooperation regulates and monitors the activities of Cooperative Societies to ensure their democratic functioning and to protect the interests of the members of Cooperatives. Cooperative Societies are voluntary bodies and work as independent economic enterprises. They extend various services that include extension of financial facilities to its members and member organizations. Cooperative Societies are expected to function on certain cooperative principles and cooperative identity based on certain values mentioned below as a whole within the framework of the Cooperative Societies Acts and Rules.

A) Cooperative Principles:

  • Voluntary and open membership
  • Democratic member control
  • Member economic participation
  • Autonomy and independence
  • Education and training of members
  • Cooperation among cooperatives
  • Concern for community

B) Cooperative Values:

  • Self - help
  • Self - responsibility
  • Democracy
  • Equity
  • Solidarity
  • Honesty
  • Openness
  • Social responsibility and care for others

If the society fails to follow the principles and values laid down, the Department will initiate corrective measures in terms of the provisions of the Cooperative Societies Acts. The main objective of the Department of Cooperation is facilitating registrations and strengthening the functioning of the Cooperative Societies, based on Cooperative Principles and Cooperative identity. To this end, the Department administers the Cooperative Laws, which govern the functioning of the Cooperative societies.

A Cooperative Society is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet common economic, socio and cultural needs and aspirations of the members through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprises. Cooperative societies are expected to function according to certain cooperative principles. For this, they shall frame their byelaws.

The cooperative principles to which the byelaws confirm are:

  • Voluntary membership in the Cooperatives, which is available, without restrictions of any social, political, racial or religious discrimination, to all persons who can make use of its services and are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
  • Members enjoy equal rights of voting (one member, one vote) and participate in decisions affecting their cooperatives. Persons elected or appointed in a manner agreed by the members and accountable to them administer the affairs of the cooperative societies.
  • Members Share Capital shall only receive a strictly limited rate of interest, if any
  • The economic results, arising out of the operations of a cooperative society, belong to its members and shall be distributed in such a manner as would avoid one member gaining at the expense of others, which shall be achieved
  • By a provision for development of business of the cooperative
  • By a provision for common services (or)
  • By distributing profits among members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative society.
  • Cooperative Societies shall make provision for the education of their members, office bearers and employees and of general public, in the principles and techniques of cooperation, both economic and democratic.
  • Cooperative Societies, in order to serve the interests of their members and their communities, shall actively cooperate in every practical way with other cooperatives at local & national levels.

There are three Acts governing the functioning of the Cooperative Societies

  • A P Cooperative Societies Act, 1964 with corresponding AP Cooperative Societies Rules, 1964.
  • AP Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies Act, 1995
  • Multi State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002.

The "Registrar of Cooperative Societies" does the administering of the cooperative laws. The Registrar includes any person on whom all or any of the powers of the Registrar under the Acts concerned are conferred /delegated.

At the revenue division level, the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies, acting as Divisional Cooperative Officer is conferred with the powers under the APCS ACT, 1964 over the primary Cooperatives, where individuals are members. At district level, the Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies acting as DCOs and the District Collectors are conferred with powers under the APCS ACT, 1964 over the Central Cooperatives which have the Primary Cooperatives as members. At State Level, the Apex Cooperative Societies are regulated by the RCS, who is also the Commissioner for Cooperation. Under APMACS Act, 1995 only RCS / DCOs are vested with the powers.

There are a wide variety of cooperatives registered and functioning. Barring PACS, Marketing societies, Housing Cooperative Societies, Employees Credit Cooperative Societies. Urban Banks, various Weaker Section Cooperatives, all other Cooperative Societies, whose major activities fall within the developmental functions of the line departments concerned, are regulated by respective officials of those departments. They are called as Functional Registrars - eg. HDD/MDs/DD/ADs of the Departments of Sericulture, Handloom and Weavers, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, AP Dairy, Industries etc., are conferred with the powers under APCS Act, 1964.

The Department of Cooperation, besides supervising, monitoring & regulating the functioning of the Cooperative Societies in terms of the cooperative laws, perform certain promotional and developmental functions related to Cooperative Societies. Member education programme is taken up through the Cooperative Educational Institutes like Institute of Cooperative Management, Rajendranagar & Andhra Pradesh State Cooperative Union, Hyderabad,. Financial assistance of the Government is channeled through the department to the needy cooperative societies and their federal societies.