ALTHOUGH THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAME-WORK COMPRISING THE economic system is uniform all over the State, there prevails a wide range of diversity in the development of credit institutions among the districts of the State, This uneven development of credit institutions is the result of a large number of factors such as location, the system of communications, availability of resources and the economic condition of the masses. It is in respect of these and many other factors that Sholapur district displays peculiarities of its own.

In Sholapur district as in other districts of the State one comes across the same set of credit institutions, viz., money-lenders, banks, co-operative societies, joint-stock companies, and other agencies extending financial assistance to the people. Of these, the money-lender is the oldest institution which has survived through centuries. Although it still holds a paramount influence over the agricultural masses its importance has been gradually declining with the expansion of the co-operative movement. At Sholapur proper these organisations flourished with favourable trade conditions. The co-operative movement, too, has spread its wings all over the district and has given to the people a new hope for better production, and better marketing of agricultural produce. Side by side with the agricultural credit societies, there is also a growth of many non-agricultural and production societies in this district. However much more is still expected of the co-operative movement which suffers from drawbacks such as lack of linking of credit with marketing, poor recovery of loans financed by the societies and organisational and managerial drawbacks inherent in the co-operative effort.

With the attainment of Independence, the old economic set-up underwent remarkable changes. It led to the expansion of the public sector. The progressive Government put restrictions on the private interests and reduced their profit margins. Especially, in the field of trade and commerce, it supplied a fresh incentive to producers through the regulation of agricultural marketing. With the establishment of a number of regulated markets trade in agricultural commodities was freed from the various malpractices by the traders against the agriculturists. The governing authorities, in certain cases, participated in the co-operative efforts of the people towards all-round development. Co-operative marketing and State trading are illustrations in point. The establishment of fair price shops to check the rising trend of prices needs special mention in this context. The growing participation of the State in the economic affairs of the district thus constitutes an important land-mark in the history of the various economic and commercial organisations in the district which are described below.