The farmer’s protest is turning more political with every passing day. When the protest started, the agenda was initially to ensure MSP for the farmers, but, now they are making maximalist demands and adding new agendas in the protest. People like Yograj Singh are making anti-Hindu speeches, leftists are asking for the release of communist and Maoist elements like Gautam Navlakha, and so on.
The latest item to be added in the agenda is the boycott of Adani Group and Reliance Group. So, why this latest agenda was added in the farmer’s protests is yet to be known clearly but the news about an app launched by the Reliance group to help the farmer’s smart decision making could offer some hints.
Farmers are among the two major customer groups being targeted by Reliance for the expansion of e-commerce and digital services in rural India. The company launched JioKrishi app in February this year to help the farmers in data-driven decision making. After that, when it received investment from Facebook in July this year, the company said that it looks to take digital technology to farmers of the country.
Reliance said, “Jio’s vision is to enable a ‘Digital India’ for 1.3 billion Indians and Indian businesses, especially small merchants, micro-businesses, and farmers.”
With Facebook on board, Jio’s “focus will be India’s 60 million micro, small, and medium businesses, 120 million farmers, 30 million small merchants, and millions of small and medium enterprises in the informal sector,” it continued.
The company is focusing on Agritech under the mission of farm to fork and aims to significant investment in Agricultural technology. The emergence of Agritech will end the reliance of farmers on the state, and the role of middlemen will also end. Therefore, the protesting farmers, whose major aim is to protect the interest of middlemen, are targeting Reliance Group.
Reliance already has large infrastructure like Jio, JioMart, Reliance Fresh, KrishiApp in place to spur the agricultural revolution in the country and end the role of middlemen. The company’s operations could start very soon as the government notified that the corporates can purchase the farmer’s produce after the implementation of the new law.
So far, the purchase of farmer’s produce directly by corporates was illegal, and therefore, corporates used to shy away from direct involvement with the farmers. However, with the new bills in place, the corporates will make value addition in the farm products and push for exports, which will end up benefiting the farmers.
The entry of corporates in the farm sector is essential because the farmers do not have skills to negotiate in the international markets which are heavily protected by Western governments and corporates. The entry of Indian corporates in the farm sector will not only directly link the farmers with the Indian market, but with the international markets too. And, this will help the Indian farmers to become rich, just like the farmers of Western countries.
In countries like Southeast Asia, the farmers gained enormously with the use of technology like niche Whatsapp groups and apps. The experience of Southeast Asian farmers could be replicated in India, and the middlemen could be removed altogether with the entry of Reliance with innovative technology like JioKrishi apps. However, the middlemen do not want this to happen, and therefore, the Congress-backed farmers are opposing Ambani and Adani.