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If Farm Reforms Are “Ambani-Adani Law”, Why Did Congress Open Up Punjab for Contract Farming?

As he does on every occasion, Rahul Gandhi resorts to rhetoric on farm laws and protest by farmers group, demanding that “Ambani- Adani laws must go”. When Rahul Gandhi speaks, facts have no chance to stand in the way. Thus, it is futile to ask why did Congress promise repealing of APMC system in its 2019 manifesto. Similarly, you will be left wondering why did the agriculture minister under the UPA government try to implement some of the reforms back then.

For a moment, forget all these instances. Since the protests are Punjab-centric, it is time to check the hypocrisy and U-turns of both the Congress and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

Here is a catch. If Rahul Gandhi really believes that the present farm reforms are “Ambani-Adani laws”, then he need to think about removing the present Chief Minister from his party. This is necessary, since Captain Amarinder Singh and Punjab Congress party have tried to implement the same market reforms that allow private players in agriculture beyond mandi system that they pretend to oppose.

Punjab Under Amarinder Facilitated Contract Farming

Here is a news report from the 2013 dateline from the Business Standard.

At a time when Rahul Gandhi is implying that companies entering the agriculture scene is evil, it is interesting to note what Captain Amarinder Singh said long-back on allowing companies to enter into contract farming in his state. People who are using ‘Ambani-Adani laws’ rhetoric to defame farm reforms should note that even the Reliance was also invited at that point in time in Punjab. Read it in the words of Captain Amarinder Singh himself, as reported in the media.

“Commenting on Reliance Industries’ plan, the Punjab chief minister said the Mukesh Ambani-controlled company would invest ₹6,000 crore to set up 54 rural hubs across the state. The company will also set up eight agro-processing units to supply fresh vegetable and fruit to West Asia and Europe.

The company plans to set up three hubs each in 18 districts. RIL will also take care of education for the farmers as well. It has finalised 15 hubs so far and I am sure the remaining hubs will be finalised soon.”

Sunil Mittal’s Bharti, in collaboration with Rothschild is setting up a cold chain near Ludhiana.”

This is the same infrastructure that recent farm laws intend to create by involving private players, without disbanding the local mandi system. It is just that farmers are given choice. But Rahul Gandhi and Captain Amarinder Singh are taking a U-turn together, just because the Modi government is implementing these reforms.

Contract Farming in Congress Manifesto

It has apparently become a sort of addiction for Rahul Gandhi to raise the “Ambani-Adani benefit” bogey on every move of the government without any basis.

If at all facilitating private players to play a role in agriculture becomes “Ambani-Adani law”, then why did Punjab Congress in its 2017 assembly manifesto promise to facilitate contract farming? Read it from their manifesto.

When such records came to the fore, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tried to justify through social media that all these measures were taken without disturbing the MSP mechanism.

The Modi government also has ensured and promised that MSP will remain and be strengthened. In fact, the track record of NDA government on MSP is much stronger as explained in our previous article Is There Any Basis to Believe That This Government Will Wind Up MSP?