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I asked the chief of one of the major chambers of commerce, otherwise friendly to dynamic policies for agricultural and rural development, why they were lobbying so vigorously against this pro-farm institution. He said it was on account of the fact that producer companies were not corporate entities. Given the uncharacteristic vehemence with which he stated this, I suspect he thought I would object to his understanding. I did not, because in my mind he was stating an important ideological principle. The one-vote-one-share principle distinguishes the norms of operation of producer companies from the modus operandi of classical capitalism. In that sense, producer companies are, indeed, not corporate companies. However, it is short-sighted, in a labour-surplus economy, to scoff at such institutions, which integrate peasants with growth by giving them access to technology and markets in a fast-growing economy, even if such methods prove to be difficult to accommodate in a purely capitalist ideology.
The writer is chancellor, Central University of Gujarat and vice chairman, Sardar Patel Institute of Economics and Social Research