A Guide to Democratic Processes of Cooperatives

The process of registration and election in cooperatives is fundamental to upholding democracy within these organisations, ensuring accountability and representation of all members. Here’s a breakdown of these processes:

Registration Process:

Formation of Cooperative: a minimum number of members, determined by the state law (for example, 51 in Gujarat), belonging to the same trade, come together with shared objectives, detailing shareholders, membership, and other essential information.
Prayojak Formation: 8-11 prayojaks (promoters) take the lead in registering the cooperative by filling out the necessary forms and getting relevant information from the prospective members.
Registration: The cooperative then receives a registration certificate. Along with it they also finalise their byelaws, which act as the cooperative’s constitution.
Byelaws: These byelaws are referred to in all cooperative processes (also known as Peta Kaida in Gujarati) The byelaws are unique to each cooperative with vision, mission, objectives of the cooperatives along with details on the role of the board and the chairperson

Selection Process:

Selecting representatives who understand their area and community is vital in women workers’ cooperatives where members are closely connected. Representatives are chosen based on personal knowledge of their character, adherence to a code of conduct, and their demonstrated work. This ensures that the people representing each community are trusted and capable, enhancing the cooperative’s effectiveness and cohesion.

First General Meeting: The 11 ‘prayojaks’ inform all members about the byelaws, objectives, and board structure, including the responsibilities of board members.
Board Election: The board is elected by the members to represent their interests and needs at the management level. There are two ways to become a board member: first, through nomination by another member; and second, through self-nomination. The number of representatives from each area is determined based on the population size.The board represents the diverse communities and areas within the cooperative. Once the nominations are received – the election takes place.
Term: The usual term of the board is for 5 years, in accordance with their byelaws. Re-election every 5 years ensures accountability and representation.
Chairperson Selection: In the first meeting of the newly elected board – chairperson, secretary and vice secretary are selected. Based on the responsibilities outlined in the byelaws – they conduct their proceedings.
Decision Making Forums: Depending on the cooperative’s requirements, the board conducts recurring meetings—monthly or bi-monthly—to discuss important issues ranging from business planning and financial reviews to membership assessments. Through transparent discussions and consensus-building, the board ensures that all members are informed and actively involved in the decision-making process.
Annual General Meetings: Major updates are communicated to members every year through AGMs, where feedback from the members is also heard

The democratic processes of registration and selection are essential pillars of cooperatives, ensuring that they remain accountable and representative of all members. From the formation of the cooperative and the selection of prayojaks to the election of the board and decision-making processes, each step finds its strength in democratic values and principles. Through transparency, accountability, and active member involvement, cooperatives embody the spirit of democracy in their governance structures.

Related Posts