Features of Co-operative Society?


Introduction: - A Co-operative society is a voluntary association of people who come together on the basis of unity and equality to protect and promote their common economic interest. The nature of co-operative organization is service oriented. Each for all and all for each is the principles of a co-operative society.
Definition: - “Co-operative society is a society which has its objectives for the promotion of economic interests of its members in accordance with co-operative principles.”    (Indian Co-operative Societies Act1912)

The following are some of the features of a Co-operative Society

1.      Voluntary association and open membership: - Co-operative organization is a voluntary association of individual. In other words the membership of a Co-operative society is voluntary i.e. the membership is open to all. Normally, there is no restriction of caste, creed, race, religion, etc. At Least 10 Members are required to form a Co-operative Society 
2.      Equal Voting Rights: - There is equality in voting rights. The principle of voting is ‘one member one vote’ unlike a company which is follows the principles of ‘one share one vote’. Thus the co-operative society members having a very large capital cannot dictate their terms.

3.      Service motive: - Co-operative organization differs from other forms of organization in the sense that the main purpose of co-operative organization is not to maximize profits but to provide services to its members.

4.      Limited Liability: -The liability of a member in a Co-operative organization is limited to the extent of the unpaid amount of shares held by him. I.e. if the business assets are not sufficient to pay off the debts, the personal property of members cannot be utilized for the purpose.

5.      Democratic Management: - The management of a Co-operative organization is based on democratic principles. Each member is given an opportunity to express his opinion. The principles of “one member     one vote’. Decisions are taken by majority of votes.

6.      Independent existence: - According to the Co-operative societies’ Act, 1912, a co-operative society has an independent legal status different from its members. Therefore, it enjoys a stable and continuous life.

7.      Surplus profit: -After payment of dividend and bonus, a part of the profit is transferred to statutory reserve and remaining is utilized for the welfare of the locality where the co-operative society is situated.

8.      Registration: -The registration of a co-operative society is compulsory as per the relevant act in the concerned state e.g. a c Co-operative organization in the state of Maharashtra has to be registered under Maharashtra State Co-operative Societies’ Act 1960.