• The Parliament on Wednesday passed the crucial Constitution (111{+t}{+h}Amendment) Bill to insulate about six lakh cooperative societies from political and government interference and to strengthen the cooperative movement.

  • The amendment will grant citizens a fundamental right to form cooperative societies and allow for voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of cooperative societies.

  • The Bill, moved by Agriculture and Cooperation Minister Sharad Pawar, was passed in the Rajya Sabha with 154 members voting in favour and 43 opposing it. The Bill has already been approved by the Lok Sabha.

  • Members belonging to the CPI (M), the CPI, and the BJD opposed the Bill saying it was encroaching upon the rights of States.

  • The Bill provides for reservation of one seat for the Scheduled Caste or the Scheduled Tribe and two seats for women on the board of every society provided it had individuals as members from these categories.

  • It also seeks to specify the number of directors of a society and provides a fixed term of five years from the date of election of members and office bearers.