Preface (1997)

Preface (1997)

Source: Co-operative Laws in Asia and the Pacific
by G.K. Sharma (pp.ix-x)

My more than four decades of close association with co-operatives
from grassroots to national and international levels has convinced
me about the important role the co-operative legislation plays in the
working and growth of co-operatives. No doubt, a good law alone
cannot solve the problems of co-operatives in any developing country;
it much depends upon the authorities responsible for its execution.
However, a properly drafted and positive law can definitely help in
creating a conducive atmosphere and helps considerably the growth
of co-operatives in a country.

After completing my assignment for about a decade with the ICA as
its Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific in October, 1996, I was
keen to have some free time and had planned my own programme
which I had postponed for a long time. However, when Mr. W.A. Khan
of FAO, RAPA, Bangkok, asked me to undertake a study on co-operative
laws in Asia for a meeting of NEDEC in Manila - April, 1996 - and
co-operative law and co-operative trade being close to my heart, I could
not say no to his offer.

During the study I found a great scarcity of published material on
Co-operative laws in Asia and the Pacific. A study was undertaken by
Mr. V.P. Singh and Mr. B.D. Sharma on behalf of ICA and published
in 1991. This study covered six countries, namely; Bangladesh, India,
Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. In these countries also,
since then many changes have come in their laws. While in countries
where there is one law based on old British India model, the framework is
quite similar, the contents and size differ considerably, the shortest being
Myanmar - 39 articles and Nepal 49, Australia - NSW having the largest
number of 446 articles. Along with others, the size of the law also
indicates the stage of development and complexities of  co-operative
development in a country, though to a certain extent, each type of law
has its own merits and demerits.

The credit for publication of this book goes to a great extent to
Dr. R.C. Dwivedi, a close friend and author of many books on
Co-operatives, who persuaded me to write and publish this book.
He not only motivated me to work on this book, but also went through
the draft and made many useful suggestions. I express my sincere
appreciation and gratefulness for all his help and goodwill, as also
to Mr. Robby Tulus, my successor as Regional Director, ICA, for his
encouragement and support. For typing and correcting of the material
many times, I thank Ms. Neela Sharma and Mr. Prem Kumar, for their
help, as also to Mr. P. Nair, who gladly offered to do the layout and
typesetting and Mr. R.K. Shankar for proof reading of the book.

The first part of the book consists of earlier cooperative attempts
and socio-economic situation in Asia at that time. The second part
consists of an analysis of cooperative laws in 21 countries in Asia and
the Pacific. In this review chapters and articles which are common in
co-operative laws in the region and not considered of specific
significance have not been included. The third part contains suggestions
on important provisions of co-operative laws. I hope this book will be
of interest to all those who have interest and are concerned with the
co-operative laws, particularly in developing countries.

G.K. Sharma
July 7, 1997