Reliance Industries claims it stands with farmers, not for contract farming

Taken aback by the severe condemnation of Indian farmers, Reliance Industries published a statement assuring farmers that it will not engage in contract farming
Image courtesy: Economic Times 

In a statement published on January 4, 2021, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), through its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) filed a petition to the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking urgent government intervention to stop illegal acts of vandalism on more than 1,500 telecom towers in Punjab.

The company said that the acts endangered thousands of lives of its employees and caused damage and disruption to the vital communications infrastructure, sales and service outlets run by its subsidiaries in the two states. It said the vandalism was instigated and aided by vested interests and business rivals who took advantage of the ongoing farmers’ agitation near Delhi to launch “an incessant, malicious and motivated vilification campaign against Reliance, which has absolutely no basis in truth.”

The company said that it won’t purchase any agricultural land and it also doesn’t purchase food grains directly from farmers. Further, it has never bought agricultural land for corporate or contract farming.

“The falsehood of the campaign becomes crystal clear from the following irrefutable facts, which we have placed before the High Court. These facts establish that Reliance has nothing whatsoever to do with the three farm laws currently debated in the country, and in no way benefits from them. As such, the sole nefarious purpose of linking the name of Reliance to these laws is to harm our businesses and damage our reputation,” it said.

According to the statement, neither Reliance nor any of its subsidiaries has purchased agricultural land, directly or indirectly, in Punjab/Haryana or anywhere else in India, for the purpose of “corporate” or “contract” farming. It added, “We have absolutely no plans to do so.”

Moreover, it said Reliance Retail has never entered into long-term procurement contracts to gain an unfair advantage over farmers or sought that its suppliers buy from farmers at less than remunerative prices, nor will it ever do so.

“We at Reliance have immense gratitude and the greatest respect for India’s kisans, who are the ‘ANNA DATA’ of 1.3 billion Indians. Reliance and its affiliates are committed to doing everything to enrich and empower them. As customers of their services, we believe in building a strong and equal partnership with Indian farmers on the basis of shared prosperity, inclusive development and an equitable New India,” it said.

The company said it supported farmers’ aspiration to get a fair and profitable price on a predictable basis for what they produce with exemplary hard work, innovation and dedication. Reliance seeks significant augmentation of their incomes on a sustainable basis and pledges to work towards this goal. Further, they said, they would insist on all suppliers to strictly abide by the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism, and any other mechanism for remunerative price for farm produce that is determined and implemented by the government.

“We urge the public and the media to be aware of the correct facts and not be misguided by false information and narratives peddled by vested interests for their own gain and benefit,” it said.

The full statement by Reliance can be viewed below:




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