“Unlicensed money lenders cannot call themselves bank”

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IMPHAL, Jul 11: Calling themselves banks or bankers by money lenders who do not possess licences issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is nothing but beguiling the public, stated Registrar Cooperative Society (RCS) Hamid Ahuja. Top officials of the Cooperation Department including Principal Secretary Moses Chalai held an interaction programme with media persons at DIPR complex, Moirangkhom this afternoon. Hamid Ahuja categorically stated that the term ‘bank’ can be used by only financial firms/institutions which posses licences issued by the RBI.

However, many NGOs and societies have been deceiving the public by calling themselves banks. As such, Cooperation Department staff have been asked to pull down sign boards and name plates of NGOs and societies which proclaim themselves as banks unlawfully. Cooperative movement started in Manipur as early as 1938 after the Manipur Durbar passed the Central Cooperative Society Act 1912 during the reign of Maharaj Churachand, Hamid Ahuja said.

Under the provisions of the Act, the Cooperative Society was registered and the Mani-pur Cooperative Bank was established. Cooperative movement is a movement initiated by the masses for their socio-economic development. Till 2015-16, there were 9258 registered cooperative societies in the State. Charitable societies are also regis- tered with the department. The total number of State level, district level and village level charitable societies registered with the department till March this year was 10504.

These registered cooperative societies and charitable societies are given licences by the department under the Bombay Money Laundering Act 1949. This system is aimed at protecting people who borrow money from these societies and at the same time ensure transparency, Hamid Ahuja said.

Stating that Cooperative Department is a regulatory department, Principal Secretary Moses Chalai maintained that the department has been working to ensure proper implementation of different projects by registered societies for which they obtain funds from line-departments. Deputy Director Ng Thaba said that lending and borrowing of money done at local level is being monitored by police. But the department cannot do anything if the lending and borrowing of money is done without licence given under the Bombay Money Laundering Act.

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