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KCR shows the way: Purchase, sale of foodgrains not Govt's job
COMMENT: Sale, purchase and manufacture are not the job of a Government. They can't do it either. KCR has shown exemplary courage in saying that a Government is not a business organisation. How many have the guts to say that. Besides, procurement and PDS in practice have been massive, multi-level, duplicitous deals without accountability.

HYDERABAD, Dec 30: KCR, or K Chandrasekhar Rao, the Chief Minister of Telangana, has categorically said his Government will not any more procure foodgrains as sale and purchase are not the job of a Government.

“A Government is not a business organisation. It is not a rice miller, not a dal miller. Sales and purchase are not the responsibility of a Government. It is not possible to set up purchase centres in the villages from next year onwards,” the statement from the Chief Minister's office said on Monday.

It is true that KCR had opposed the farm laws and even supported the Bharat Bandh of December 8. But now he seems to be moving forward to embrace the reality of what does not entail the job of a Government.

The State Government, according to KCR, has incurred a loss of Rs 7,500 cr in purchasing foodgrains at a high MSP and selling them at half the price or allowing the British clerks to write it off as rotten.

According to the statement, the Government had set up purchasing centres in the countryside during the last season and purchased all the agriculture produce that arrived in the centres just on humanitarian ground so that farmers would not suffer losses in the aftermath of the covid pandemic. The Government incurred losses to the tune of Rs 7,500 crore from the purchase of paddy, sorghum, maize, red gram and Bengal gram. Although the Government paid Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for the crops, it had to sell them at lower prices in the market because there was no demand, it added.

Looking back, on December 6 Rao had appealed to his Telangana Rashtra Samithi's (TRS) party workers to make the farmers' bandh against the Centre's farm laws on December 8 successful in the State. May be today he turned wiser!

The new farm laws are: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. The laws, which replace the decades-old regulations, will allow big corporations to buy directly from farmers.

Farmers say the reforms will make them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations.

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