Welcome to the world of Karnataka State Souharda Federal Cooperative Ltd, the first Apex Body of New generation cooperatives in India. Souharda Federal Cooperative is a democratically elected self-regulatory organization of the cooperatives registered under Karnataka Souharda Sahakari Act, 1997.
India is celebrating centenary celebration of Cooperative Law. The first Cooperative Law of India The Cooperative Credit Societies Act, 1904 was passed on 25th March 1904.
The earliest co-operatives were set-up among the weavers, in other words workers in cottage industries, who were the first and the hardest hit by the development of the mercantile economy and the industrial revolution.
So the weavers, in order to gain access to the market in the tools of their trade or to the market in foodstuffs set up the first co-operative in Scotland (Fenwick, 1761; Govan, 1777; Darvel, 1840 ), in France (Lyons, 1835 ), in England (Rochdale, 1844 ) and in Germany ( Chemnitz, 1845 ).
Though co-operation and mutual enterprise has been an essence of human-society ever since it evolved, the real co-operative movement can be credited to the Rochdale Pioneers who established a co-operative consumer store in North England. This store can be called as the first in the co-operative consumer movement.
The "Rochdale Pioneers", made their first aim to establish co-operatives where the members would not only be their own merchants but also their own producers and their own employers.
Around this time the co-operative movement was more at an utilitarian level. The concept though old, was just being implemented and was growing slowly. Many great thinkers, far sighted men and visionaries were applying their minds to find practical solutions to the new problems and to work out better systems of social organization.
In Great Britain Robert Owen (1771-1858) conceived and set up self-contained semi-agricultural, semi-industrial communities.
Dr. William King (1758-1865) helped to spread Owen’s doctrine, his ideas were more reasonable than Owen’s and achieved more results.
In France Charles Fourier (1722-1837) , a commercial clerk, published in 1822 his main work, a Treatise on Domestic Agricultural Association. This could be one of the first works on co-operation.
In France Saint-Simon (1760-1865) worked on various theories of "associations".
But it was Proudhon (1796-1865) who advocated mutual aid and "free credit" for free access to the money market and Buchez (1796-1865) who championed the idea of inalienable collective capital and workers’ production co-operative societies.
Schulze-Delitzsch (1808-1883) was the apostle of urban credit co-operatives and co-operatives in handicrafts, while F.W.Raiffeisen (1818-1888) did the same for rural credit co-operatives.
Though all these visionaries had articulated the philosophy of co-operation it was not until the World-War II that an Authoritative Commission was appointed by the International Co-operative Alliance.
This Commission formulated or rather formalized the principles of co-operation. They are :
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic Management
- Limited interest on capital
- Patronage dividend in proportion of members' transactions
- Education and Training and
- Co - operation among co-operatives
There have been also other principles like the principles of political neutrality, correct weight and measures, purity of goods and thrift which were also taken into consideration.
These principles have been reformulated recently by the Manchester Congress in 1995. These principles are acknowledged by all over the world. The Cooperative principles have been incorporated in Karnataka Souharda Sahakari Act, 1997 as a separate chapter.
The basic guidelines for the formation of Co-operatives under Karnataka Souharda Sahakri Act, 1997 are as follows:
- Promoters meeting
- Collecting initial share capital
- Election to first Board
- Beginning of activities