History in brief
  • The Co-operative Societies System of Sri Lanka started in 1906 during the period of British ruling in order to fulfil the economic needs of rural farming community by granting loans.
  • Since the number of Co-operative societies was increased Co-operative Societies Ordinance No.7 of 1911 was enacted to provide guidance and observation. The government involved to the Co-operative movement of this country this very year.
  • It has been documented that Dumbara Mitiyawatha Co-operative Society was the first Co-operative society emerged in Sri Lanka.
  • The post of “Registrar of Co-operative Societies” was created with government involvement to this. Director of Agriculture at that time was appointed to this post and held it from 1911 - 1930 .
  • Co-operative Department was established as a separate department on 01st October 1930.
  • The first Registrar of Co-operative Societies was Mr. W.K.H. Cambel.
  • It was named as Department of Co-operative Development in 1945.
  • All the island wide co-operative shops established for various objectives were brought together and established Multi Service Co-operative Societies in 1957.
  • The Co-operative Societies re-organized in 1971 compatible with the economic and business scope. Accordingly, area within the Authority of the society was expanded and established as a stable economic unit.
  • The subject of Co-operatives became a provincial subject with the 13th amendment of the Constitution in 1989.
  • Subsequent to the de-centralization of these activities the role of the Department of Co-operative Development which is under the Central Government was to co-ordinate provincial departments and the activities of the Central Government.
  • Additionally, the role of observation of the top level Co-operative Societies/ unions was vested with the linear department.
  • Provision of Provincial coordinating services such as National Level Ministries, Financing Co-operative Institutes, Parliamentary Advisory Committees and Public Petition Committees are carried out through the linear department.
  • Giving assistance to make policies for the development activities related to co-operative subject, implement national level development programmes and publish the statistics report regarding Co-operative Movement are some other tasks carried out by the linear department.