Execution of the policies and decisions of the Co-operation Department is carried out through two Directorates, namely, Co-operation Directorate and Co-operative Audit Directorate. The Co-operation Directorate is headed by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, West Bengal, who is a senior officer drawn from the IAS Cadre of the State.
The primary objective of the Co-operation Directorate is to see that genuine co-operatives are organized and managed on sound lines as per the basic principles of co-operation for the promotion of the economic interests and welfare of the people and to render guidance and assistance for the development of Co-operative movement in the State.
The Directorate has its Headquarters at the New Secretariat Buildings at 1, Kiran Sankar Roy Road, Kolkata - 700001 and the field operations are supervised and controlled by the Assistant RCS of the Ranges with offices mainly at the District Head Quarters. The Range Offices are being assisted by the Cooperative Development Officers with assignment of Sub-Divisions and the Inspector of Cooperative Societies with assignment at Block and Municipal Circle level providing the extension services in Development Blocks and Municipal areas spread all over the State. For decentralised supervision, administration and control there are at present three Zonal Offices of the Directorate at the Divisional Level headed by a Senior Officer in the rank of Deputy RCS.
Appointment, Powers and Duties of the Registrar
The Registrar of Co-operative Societies and a number of Officers of the rank of Additional, Joint, Deputy and Assistant Registrars (members of the West Bengal Co-operative Service, a constituted State Service of the Co-operation Department) are appointed under section 9(1) of the Act. Under Section 10(1) of the Act the powers are conferred and duties are imposed on the Officers of the said State Service appointed to assist the Registrar of Co-operative Societies.
Exclusive powers of the RCS, West Bengal
The following powers are exclusively exercised by Registrar of Co-operative Societies, West Bengal:-
- to sanction granting of loan by a co-operative society to another co-operative society which is not a member of the former society.
- to require any officer (including a former officer) of a co-operative society to pay to the assets of the society for making good the loss sustained by it in direct consequences of the commission or omission specified, or to restore any property misappropriated or fraudulently retained and to pay the cost of any proceeding initiated under section 129 of the Act.
- to impose penalties for certain contravention of the provisions of the Act or the Rules or the by-laws.
- to grant leave and impose condition for proceeding with or instituting any suit or other legal proceeding against a liquidator or a co-operative society or a member thereof.
- to sanction the institution of any prosecution under this Act.
- To approve the decision of a co-operative housing society to expel its member.
There are 3 Co-operative Zones under the Co-operation Directorate, namely, Central, Northern and Western Zones which are coterminous with Presidency, Jalpaiguri and Burdwan Divisions of the general administration respectively. These Zones are divided into several Ranges - 6 Ranges in Central Zone, 6 in Northern Zone and 10 in Western Zone. Each Zone office is headed by a Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Societies who is conferred with the powers and allowed to perform the duties of the Registrar within his jurisdiction as and when the area of membership of a society extends to more than several Ranges belonging to the particular Zone. The Zonal DRCS chiefly supervises over the functioning of the Ranges under his control. Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Societies heads the Range offices and are responsible for carrying out the various functions of Registrar.
The Registrar has important role to play - right from registration of a Co-operative Society till the cancellation of its registration except in the audit and allied matters which is the responsibility of the Director of Co-operative Audit. There are various types of co-operatives registered and functioning in the State. The Co-operation Directorate and the offices under its control look after the functioning of various types of co-operative societies, e.g., Primary Agricultural Credit Societies, Marketing Societies, Consumers’ Societies, Urban and Employees’ Credit Societies, Urban Co-operative Banks, Central Co-operative Banks, Housing Societies, Labour Contract Societies, Engineering Societies, Transport Societies, Service Societies etc. and Apex (State-level) Federations of these Societies. There are certain types of Co-operative Societies whose activities fall within the developmental functions of the line departments concerned and are regulated by the officers of the concerned Directorates / Apex Federation / Department. They are designated as Ex-Officio Additional Registrar of Co-operative Societies, e.g., Directors of Sericulture, Handloom and Textiles, Fisheries, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises, Managing Directors of West Bengal State Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd. (BENMILK) and so on.
There are cooperative societies with their area of membership covering more than one State. Such Multi State Cooperatives are supervised and controlled by the Central Registrar although the registered offices of such cooperatives are situated in this State.