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THE ROLE OF COOPERATIVES IN BUILDING THE RURAL COMMUNITIES (INDIAN EXPERIENCE)

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Title: THE ROLE OF COOPERATIVES IN BUILDING THE RURAL COMMUNITIES (INDIAN EXPERIENCE)


1
THE ROLE OF COOPERATIVES IN BUILDING THE RURAL
COMMUNITIES(INDIAN EXPERIENCE)
  • P.V.A. Rama Rao
  • Ex. M.D, NABARD Adjunct Faculty, NIRD

2
MATRIX OF INDIAN RURAL ECONOMYINDIA Lives In
Villages- Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation
Indian economy is predominantly rural 66 of
population live in rural ares 20 of GDP from
agricultureAlthough share of agriculture in
total GDP is declining, it continues its
dominating influence on not only the total GDP,
but the countrys economy as a wholeTargeted
9 growth of the economy food security for its
population call for agriculture to register 4
growth in GDP as against 2.7 (2006-07)
3
Table 1 Sectoral growth rates of real GDP
Sector 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07
Agriculture allied -7.2 (21.9) 10.0 (22.2) 0.7 (20.8) 6.0 (19.9) 2.7 (18.5)
Industry 7.1 (25.9) 7.4 (25.8) 9.8 (26.0) 9.6 (26.1) 12.3 (26.4)
Services 7.4 (52.2) 8.5 (52.0) 9.6 (53.2) 9.8 (54.0) 11.0 (55.1)
Total GDP 3.8 (100.0) 8.5 (100.0) 7.5 (100.0) 9.0 (100.0) 9.4 (100.0)
Agenda Agriculture for Development, GDP growth
will be about 4 times more effective in removing
poverty among the poorest people if it originates
in agriculture than if it does elsewhere (World
Development Report (2005).
4
2. COOPERATIVES - VEHICLE FOR AGRICULTURE/RURAL
DEVELOPMENT
  • Coops An Economic miracle of 19th Century
  • Late Honorable President of India Dr. S.
    Radhakrishnan
  • Cooperatives in Rural Milieu
  • Cooperatives - basically designed and oriented
    to meet economic and societal needs of rural
    segments, particularly the poor. Starting with
    agricultural credit, cooperatives encompassed all
    rural economic activities.
  • Cooperatives - single largest business model in
    the country account for 20 of rural credit
    supply, 35 of fertilizer supply, 60 of sugar
    production, 30 of wheat procurement, 45 of
    cotton procurement, 40 of cloth production, 48
    of milk production etc.

5
Continued relevance of Coops for agriculture /
rural developmentCoops are the hope of Rural
India. If they fail,there will fail the hopes
of Rural India- Royal Commission on agriculture
in India (1928)
  • Cooperatives - with 80 of the farmers (small /
    marginal), holding only 20 of the farm lands -
    an imperative for securing sustainable livelihood
    and social empowerment of rural poor.
  • Cooperatives - prime agencies for rural
    financial services - with their vast network
    (over 1,00,000 outlets covering all villages in
    the country), wide coverage (over 127 million
    membership) and out-reach to small / marginal
    farmers and tenants, even in the remotest parts
    of the country.

6
Table 2 Access to rural credit (as on 31st March
2005)
Agency No. of rural borrowers Average loan size (Rs.)
Commercial Banks 16.5 million 32,000
PACs 45.1 million 8,964
Share of coops in the rural credit declining
62 (1992-93) to 21 (2006-07) - but their
quantum jumps continued with annual growth rate
of 10 (Rs.9,378 crores in 1992-93 to Rs.42,480
crores in 2006-07). And, this is despite several
odds and without level-playing-ground with the
other market players.
7
Demonstrative success stories of coop leadership
  • Imperatives and relevance of cooperatives for
    agriculture rural development, emphasized by
    several Expert Committees on the subject right
    from the Maclagan Committee (1915), Royal
    Commission on Agriculture (1928) to the All India
    Rural Credit Survey Committee (early 50s) and all
    the subsequent Expert Committees on Rural Credit.
  • Demonstrative success stories of Thrift and
    Credit societies (eg.CDF) and Multi Purpose
    coop societies (eg.Mulkanoor) are given in
    Annexures 1 2.

8
3. FINANCING THE RURAL DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVE
CHANNELS
  • 58mn (51.4) of farm households have no access to
    formal / informal credit (with no collaterals)
    (NSSO 2003)
  • Of these, 88 are small / marginal farmers and
    other poorer groups. (without collaterals)
  • SHG route to provide access to formal credit
    channels
  • An effective financial inclusion initiative.

SHGs more closer to the coop principles than the
coops themselves. Rediscovering Coop
(1996), IRMA
SHGs rural centric and women focussed - are
basically thrift credit groups, functioning
strictly on coop principles values. SHG model,
the biggest-ever-experiment of the size world
over, evidenced by its magnitude.
9
Table 3 Performance of SHGs at a glance (as at
end 2006-07)
Number 37 million SHGs Linkage 2.92 million SHGs
Access 41 million poor households Bank loans Rs.1,80,410 million
200 million people Savings Rs.18,500 million
20 population Savings Rs.18,500 million _at_ Rs.500 / month / SHG
80 of total poor Gender 90 women
10
4. COOPS - NON-CREDIT INPUTS FOR AGRICULTURE
  • i. Production of agro chemicals and fertilizers
  • India third biggest fertilizer producer in the
    world.
  • IFFCO and KRIBHCO, the two fertilizers giants in
    the cooperative sector (1967-68), account for
    19.1 in the total installed capacity for
    nitrogenous fertilizers and 10.6 for phosphatic
    fertilizers in the country.
  • ii. Distribution
  • Cooperatives - the main institutional agencies -
    distribution network 20 State level marketing
    federations, 171 district level marketing
    societies and about 92,000 village level
    cooperative societies. Value of fertilizer
    distributed by these PACS accounts for over 30
    of total.
  • iii. Other services to members - Capacity
    building and extension services
    (community-building)

11
  • iv. Future concerns
  • shift from administratively controlled prices and
    quantities of fertilizers to be market oriented,
  • Government to withdraw its patronage by way of
    subsidies and concessions,
  • sharing of profits between different cooperative
    tiers for marketing of inputs,
  • review of credit component available to PACS for
    the purchase of fertilizers (due to loan
    defaults),
  • improvement of infrastructural facilities, and
    professionalisation of management.

12
5. COOPS - AGRO PROCESSING MARKETING ACTIVITIES
  • India has about 50 of worlds buffaloes, and 20
    of cattle. It is the largest milk producing
    country in the world, accounting for about 80 mt
    of production. Cooperative dairy processing
    sector accounts for over 50 of the total,
    integrated with chilling centres, cattle-feed
    mixing plants and a wide range of distribution
    net-work.
  • Indias achievement, in becoming the largest
    producer of milk in the World, has an important
    message, viz. concurrent attention to all lines
    in the Production - Processing Marketing
    chain through co-operative and group endeavor
    will lead to striking results
  • Prof. M.S. Swaminathan
  • Indias successful model AMUL with strong
    economic well-being and social empowerment had
    several successful replications. Illustrative
    case of WARNA appended (Annexure 3).

13
  • Future concerns
  • Substantial progress achieved in sugar, milk,
    oilseeds, and fruits and vegetable sectors under
    the coop-umbrella, not only to market their
    produce but also in creating rural leadership and
    entrepreneurship.
  • Constraints
  • Saddled with a variety of problems, mainly from
    the outdated and non-cooperative cooperative law
    and practice, conflicting with the basic tenets
    of cooperation and sound business principles.
  • Parallel law viz. the A.P. Mutually Aided
    Cooperative Societies Act, 1995 (AP MACS Act),
    followed by 10 other States, providing for full
    autonomy to the cooperatives in their
    functioning. Most of the dairy coops, among
    others, have migrated to the new Act. However,
    the Act is not being implemented giving full
    expression to its provisions, vitiating the
    objectives and efficacy of the new Act.

14
6. COOP RURAL NON-FARM SECTOR
  • India lives in villages 60 of the rural
    population live on agriculture, rest to survive
    on non-land based activities.
  • There is a deceleration in the employment-growth
    in the organized sector by 1.2 to (-) 0.38,
    although the decline of total employment index
    from 2.1 (93-94) to 1.6 (199-00) has been
    reversed to 2.5 (2004-05) Thanks to IT and
    Services sectors.
  • - Hon. Union Finance Minister Budget Speech
    (2007)
  • Surplus labour cannot be allowed to migrate to
    urban areas in view of fragile urban
    infrastructure and environmental threats, besides
    shrinking absorption capacity in industry
    (post-reforms) a jobless growth. Difficult for
    agriculture to retain the work force, NFS holds
    promise for reasonable livelihood.

15
  • The cost of creating a self-employment job is a
    fraction of what it costs to create a job in the
    industrial sector
  • - Nobel Peace Laureate Mohammed Yunus, Bangladesh
  • Handloom Weavers Coop. Societies (HWCS)
  • Handloom weavers 2.8 million out of a total of
    3.5 million in numbers are an integral part of
    the rural society, next only to agriculture in
    size.
  • This sector not able to provide sustainable
    employment / incomes
  • Organizational inefficiencies operational
    deficiencies (obsolete looms, outdated designs,
    inadequate and untimely supply of inputs and
    absence of marketing support equal to the tasks).
  • Choking of credit overhang of debts
  • Piling up of stocks of final products

16
  • Future concerns
  • Problems of weavers in coop sector an outcome of
    historic neglect
  • Expert Committee of Government of India proposed
    a rehabilitation package, involving financial
    support restructuring.
  • Solution lies in strengthening coops with
    market-led interventions, in tune with the
    competitive environment. (Chinese experience)
  • The fundamental relevance of coops as a mode of
    community building is time tested. Needless to
    say, coops as an organizational form of
    actualizing co-operation have to throw away their
    self-imposed blinkers. They must learn to shun
    state patronage but fight for justified
    preferential treatment. (infrastructure and other
    support and skill development for market
    orientation) They must be as professional and
    farsighted as any private business, and
    turn-around as viable entities.

17
7. COOPS - COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION OF SPECIAL
GROUPS
  • India added over 200 million persons to its
    population since 1980s.
  • Indian economy currently experiencing nearly a
    jobless growth. Several millions of these poor
    in India face the problem of inadequate
    livelihoods and livelihood promotion is high on
    the agenda of development. Market-led livelihood
    interventions have an inherent element of
    sustainability. Success story of market led
    intervention by BAIF (an NGO) Annexure 4

18
  • Common property rights
  • Increasing awareness on environment, and
    imperatives of rehabilitation of project effected
    (PAPs) as also CPR and NRD led to a rediscovery
    of useful ways and a useful purpose for
    coops. Community rights without participatory
    local institutions like coops usually degenerate
    into bureaucratic control by default and de-facto
    exploitation of the beneficiaries by the
    privileged.
  • A comparative study of the performance of
    fisheries in three major reservoirs of Madhya
    Pradesh was carried out over a period of time,
    across three different management systems
    (public, private and coops) proved that the third
    alternative is equitable and natural way of
    resettling displaced persons, while bureaucratic
    management has failed to improve productivity,
    private contractors have overexploited the
    fisheries.
  • - Sunil and Smita in Rediscovering co-operation,
    IRMA

19
8. COOPS - RURAL CREDIT INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES
  • Challenges
  • Failure of coop governance 40-45 of coops are
    devoid of elected boards and are run as
    para-statal bodies.
  • Absence of professional management Almost all
    coops are headed by Government nominees /
    bureaucrats.
  • Serious dent in the financial performance due to
    external interference
  • Continuing Regulated regime of un economic /
    unviable interest rates.
  • Imposition of across-the-board waivers /
    concessions not only in the interest rates but
    also in loans repayment.
  • Consequential growth of organizational
    inefficiencies - absence of a strong HRD, systems
    / controls etc

20
  • Resultantly, it has lost its vibrancy vigour.
    It lost its level-playing-ground vis-à-vis the
    other market players (viz. Commercial Banks,
    RRBs) due to, apart from the operational
    constraints, the design prescriptions like
  • High transaction cost due to issue of smaller
    loans / widely spread out
  • High cost, low return due to heavy burden of
    social banking
  • Lack of diversification due to absence of
    cross-subsidization in the loan portfolio
  • High operational cost due to excessive
    dependence on borrowings
  • And, GREATER RISK-PRONENESS (BOTH NATURAL AND
    MAN-MADE) WITH AGRICULTURE BEING THEIR MAIN
    PORTFOLIO.

21
  • Based on recommendations of Vaidyanathan
    Committee, a Revival Package for the Short-Term
    Rural Co-operative Credit Structure with an
    estimated outlay of Rs.13,596 crore stipulated.
  • Ushering in co-operative reforms in STCCS to
    provide for autonomy especially in (i) fixation
    of interest rates on deposits and loans as per
    RBI guidelines, (ii) borrowings and investments,
    (iii) loan policies, (iv) personnel policy and
    (v) appointment of Auditors.
  • Reducing equity of State Government in CCS to 25
  • Freedom to CCS units to affiliate or disaffiliate
    with a federal structure.
  • Restrictions on the State Government in
    supersession of the boards.
  • Professionalisation of the boards of SCBs and
    DCCBs and compliance with RBI norms of fit and
    proper criteria for elected members and CEOs.

22
  • CONCERNS
  • Slow acceptance / non-acceptance of the package,
    or where accepted, its slow implementation, casts
    its shadow on efficacy / speed of reforms.
  • The lenience of the Government in allowing 2
    years lead-time to the States to join the reforms
    stream - with an option not to join - is bound to
    have adverse impact on the already ailing system.
  • Accumulated losses aggregated Rs.5,500 crore as
    at end March 2007, up by Rs.500 crores over the
    previous year).
  • As on 31 March 2007, 7 SCBs and 127 DCCBs were
    not complying with the Section 11(1) of the
    B.R.Act, 1949 (AACS). The total erosion in the
    value of assets of these non-compliant
    co-operative banks, aggregated Rs.14,514.25
    crore, which had not only eroded their entire
    owned funds but also affected deposits to the
    extent of Rs.4,655.21 crore.
  • - Source NABARD annual Report, 2007

23
  • The vibrancy of the coop ethics and principles
    call for policy environment and supportive
    infrastructure but not subsidies / interest
    concessions / loan waivers, germane to political
    convenience rather than economic expediency.
    Farmers look to timely and adequate credit but
    not concessions and waivers established by
    empirical studies.
  • Therefore, essential for the state to ensure a
    strong institutional rural credit delivery system
    is in place, particularly in coop sector, to face
    the challenges of meeting the increased credit
    needs of the rural economy / agriculture sector.

24
9. REAL SECTOR ISSUES AGRICULTURE
  • When we review our agricultural situation, it is
    clear that there are four deficits we need to
    bridge. These four deficits are (i) the public
    investment and credit deficit, (ii) the
    infrastructure deficit, (iii) the market economy
    deficit and (iv) the knowledge deficit Taken
    together, they are responsible for the
    development deficit in the agrarian and rural
    economy.
  • - Honorable Prime Minister at NDC meet on 9th
    December 2006

25
  • i. Public investment and credit deficit
  • With the limitations in hiking public investment,
    the imperatives of private investment call for
    adequate credit support, which in-turn calls for
    a strong institutional credit delivery system.
  • Rural credit coops are called upon for greater
    involvement in the credit dispensation to meet
    the challenges of 4 growth in agriculture.
  • Rs.99,000 crores - IXth Plan
  • Rs.2.71 lakh crores - Xth plan
  • This calls for favourable policy environment and
    a massive effort by the coops in resource
    mobilization and deployment.

26
Table 4 Gross Capital formation (GCF) in
Agriculture
Year Public Sector Private Sector Total Ratio of GCF in Agriculture to () Ratio of GCF in Agriculture to () Ratio of GCF in Agriculture to ()
GDCF Agri. GDP Total GDP
1999-2000 7,716 (17.7) 35,757 (82.3) 43,473 8.6 8.9 2.2
2002-03 7,962 (17.0) 38,861 (83.0) 46,823 7.5 9.6 2.1
2005-06 13,219 (24.2) 41,320 (75.8) 54,539 4.5 9.6 1.9
Ratio of GCF (Ag) to GCF is declining Ratio
of GCF (Ag) to total GDP is declining Ratio
of GCF (Ag) to GDP (Ag) is stagnant
27
  • ii. Infrastructure deficit
  • The Indian rural infrastructure report prepared
    by NCAER, sponsored by Ratan Tata Trust,
    estimated the requirement of investment in rural
    infrastructure development at Rs.1,58,313 Crore
    with Public-Private Partnership (Telecom
    Rs.93,000 Crore, Power- Rs.55,243 Crore, Roads
    Transport Rs.5,893 Crore, Water Sanitation
    Rs.4,488 Crore.
  • Source - Hindu 26th February 2007

28
  • We need to address the problem of mounting
    subsidies on food, fertilizers and now, in
    petroleum, which is a recent phenomenon. Over
    Rs.1 lakh crore is going to be spent this year
    alone on these three items. I would like my
    cabinet colleagues and the Planning Commission to
    reflect what these mean for our development
    options and what development options these
    subsidies are shutting out. Do they mean fewer
    schools, fewer hospitals, fewer scholarships,
    slower public investment in agriculture and
    poorer infrastructure? It is important that we
    restructure subsidies so that only the really
    needy and the poor benefit from them and all
    leakages are plugged.
  • Hon. Prime Ministers address to Planning
    Commission (November 2007)

29
iii. Market economy deficitTable 5 Production
of major food grains and non-food grain crops
Crop Target MT Target MT Target MT Achievement MT Achievement MT Achievement MT Growth () over previous year Growth () over previous year
2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2004-05 2005-06
Food grains 220 225 215 213 198 210 -6.9 5.9
Oil seeds 25 26 27 25 24 27 - 3.6 9.9
Sugar cane 320 270 238 234 237 273 1.4 15.2
Cotton 15 15 17 14 16 19 19.7 15.2
30
  • Total Food grains production each year is less
    than the annual target.
  • At present levels of production, India registers
    low per capita food. India 177 KG / pa
    (1998) (China 370 KG / pa 1994)
  • Food security requirement 250 MT (2010) 300
    MT (2020) up from the current requirement of 225
    m tons (which is also not met fully).
  • Indias biggest challenge is ensuring food
    security making agriculture a market economy
    from the deficit economy.
  • Our Food Budget should be managed with home
    grown foods, since agriculture is the back bone
    of our rural livelihood security system
  • - Dr. M.S. Swaminathan

31
  • iv. Knowledge deficit (Technology fatigue)
  • If you are worried about only economic
    competitiveness and not worried about scientific
    competitiveness, then I think the future is
    bleak
  • Dr. C.N.R. Rao, Scientific Advisor to Honorable
    PM
  • The result is, Productivity of agriculture has
    taken the hit.
  • With the water, power and climate changes
    threatening immense damage to the agricultural
    sector, serious efforts are needed on the part of
    the policy makers, researchers and farmers
    themselves in a synergy to un-lock the
    productivity from dry-lands.
  • Index of Neglect (Deficit) Extension
    Reaches to less than 6 farmers. FCI procurement
    of coarse grains less than 1 of total.
  • Chinas sound agri. policy coupled with its
    massive investments in infrastructure R-D of
    farm sector, have given it a clear edge
    internally as well as internationally.

32
Table 6 Agriculture productivity in India
Tonnes per ha
Crop Worlds Average India yield Potential Indian yield (existing)
Rice 10.4 2.9 4 to 5
Wheat 8.0 2.6 4 to 5
Pulses 4.5 0.6 2 to 2.5
Chinas agriculture productivity is 2 times that
of India, with less than half of Indias
irrigation and arable land.
33
Table 7 RD Status comparative position
Country Farm researchers Farm researchers Expenditure on RD Expenditure on RD Expenditure on RD
No (millions) No. per million population US BN GDP Per Capita in
USA 1261 4374 290 2.8 1006.0
INDIA 118 112 21 0.7 19.8
CHINA 810 633 72 1.2 56.2
  • In less than 50 years after some devastating
    famines, China achieved full food security. In
    contrast, 60 years after Independence, India
    one of the fastest growing economies in the world
    - is today still home to 57 millions
    under-nourished (35 of worlds total) compared
    to Chinas mere 7 (UNICEF 2005).

34
10. COORDINATION BETWEEN COOPS PRIs
  • The 73rd Amendment to the Constitution -
    panchayats entrusted with powers to undertake
    area planning for economic development and
    social justice.
  • Both the PRIs Cooperatives being peoples
    organizations based on democratic values, each
    has to play a complimentary role for the common
    goals.
  • Cooperatives would be major institutional
    vehicles to assist the panchayats in
    implementation of various components of local
    area plans.
  • If cooperatives are the principal ally of the
    poor and the panchayats, then we must combat the
    challenges they face.
  • - Liberation from bureaucratic controls.
  • - Empowering cooperatives to compete in the
    market place.
  • - Public opinion to exert informed and
    sustained pressure
  • on the State.
  • - L.C. Jain Indias Tryst with Cooperatives

35
11. THE ROAD AHEAD
  • 11.1 The direction of Indian agriculture
  • (i) For Indian economy and society, economic
    prosperity and social well-being of rural India
    are of paramount importance. Agriculture, the
    prime-mover of the rural milieu is in the
    worst-ever-crisis, posing a serious threat to the
    sustainable livelihood to the farmers and food
    security to the nation. This syndrome has
    already triggered the alarm bells, pushing the
    poverty and hunger levels and the farmers
    suicides to un-precedented levels.
  • (ii)Social policy of the Government (subsidies
    and security -net to the rural poor) are
    important but we have to balance them with the
    economic policy compulsions. Illustratively,
    strange revelations have come out of a Pune based
    study of the Government of Indias praised
    programme Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

36
  • A Pune based study group which walked through
    the Maharasthra heartland covering 153 villages
    in twelve districts found that at least a crore
    of people were going hungry, agriculture has
    almost collapsed, PDS is in a mess and the
    Employment Guarantee Scheme has gone corrupt. In
    short, there is a complete lack of governance.
  • - Shri P.R. Dubhashi, Bhavans Journal, October
    15th 2007
  • (iii) The need of the hour is bringing out the
    Second Green Revolution on a war footing and
    sustaining it as an Ever Green Revolution and
    it should be on the top of the agenda backed by
    strong political will. The package is well
    contoured in the Swaminathan Committee
    recommendations (National Farmers Commission,
    2006).
  • Basically, rising production and productivity
    through improved technology and extension and
    putting in place the required rural
    infrastructure hold the key for turn-around of
    Indian agriculture.

37
  • 11.2 Coops - The vehicle for rural development
  • (i) The tested and trust-worthy vehicle for
    securing rural development is the coops. As
    highlighted from British rule (Royal Commission)
    to the present independent rule (Gadgil
    Committee) Coops have failed but they must
    succeed.
  • And they will succeed if only they are allowed to
    function on their own as demonstrated by the
    committed coop leadership viz. CDF / Mulkanoor /
    Warna etc. but the external interference
    reducing the coops as para-statal bodies is
    killing the coops, and the coop spirit.
  • But Coops must shed self imposed blinkers and
    empower themselves to turn around as viable,
    market-oriented entities.

38
  • (ii) Can we build-up the political will and the
    national consensus on the vital issue which may
    be the last chance for coop renaissance? Let us
    recall how close we were to building up a strong,
    vibrant rural economy yet how indifferently we
    missed it, or ignored it! Let us recall the
    words of the doyen of coop movement Dr. Verghese
    Kurian who said, paying tributes to the architect
    of the Mulkanoor Coop Rural Bank, that simply
    replicating 41,000 more Mulkanoor type coops
    would take the country to the top of the world in
    the performance index of the agricultural
    economy. Such appeals continued to fail in
    triggering action.
  • May be, the coop leaders should press for
    Constitutional safe-guards for the coops as was
    done in the case of PRIs under 73rd
    Constitutional Amendment.

39
  • (iii) It is the responsibility an urgent one
    too to build up the vehicle of coops to take
    the rural economy to the desired destination of
    building happy rural communities with sustainable
    livelihood and social empowerment. There lies
    the future of India and if we fail to deliver,
    the posterity will not pardon the present
    generation for the quality of the national
    economy they inherit.
  • Future Agenda Agriculture for Development
  • - (World Development Report (2005)
  • Coops are the hope of Rural India. If they
    fail,there will fail the hopes of Rural India
  • - Royal Commission on agriculture in India (1928)
  • Everything else can wait but not agriculture
  • - First Prime Minister of India, late Pandit
    Jawaharlal Nehru

40
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