In the backdrop of ongoing farmers’ protests against the centre’s three new farm bills that promote privatisation in the agricultural sector, multiple images of ‘Jio’ wheat have gone viral. Jio is a sub-brand of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).
On December 24, Facebook page ‘Rahul Gandhi Friends Club Delhi‘ posted these images alluding that the laws were drafted to benefit certain private players. This post has been shared over 6,000 times.
(Translated from: कानून बाद में बने है और थैले पहले ये तस्वीर बहुत कुछ कह रही है । अब तो समझ जाओ)
Twitter user @Shazi__786 posted one of the images and wrote, “Jio’s wheat has also come in the market, one day it will occupy the whole country and we will all become their slaves, if we are not aware then we will yearn for the grain. There is still time to stand with the farmer.”
Jio’s wheat has also come in the market, one day it will occupy the whole country and we will all become their slaves, if we are not aware then we will yearn for the grain
— Shazia 2.0 (@Shazi__786) December 23, 2020
Several Facebook users also posted images of ‘Jio wheat’ with Hindi and English texts. Alt News received several requests on our WhatsApp helpline number (+917600011160) and on our official Android application to authenticate the claim.
The vision statement of Jio Platforms Limited (Jio) on RIL website states that it aims to “transform India with the power of digital revolution”. The company is not associated with the agriculture sector.
We performed a keyword on Google and found the following links —
1) Jio Wheat with pink coloured packaging is produced by Surat-based Radhakrishna Trading Co which is not associated with RIL. It is listed on Udaan, a B2B e-commerce website. Alt News spoke with Bharatbhai Jajera founder of Radhakrishna Trading Co. He said, “We aren’t associated with RIL. I supply goods to various Kirana stores. Let me explain the context behind ‘Jio Wheat’. Once a wholesaler procures processed wheat in bulk, wheat is packaged with a catchy title that is easily recognised by the consumers. For instance, when the movie ‘Bahubali’ released some wholesalers sold wheat with ‘Babhubali’ written on the packaging. It doesn’t mean that the director of ‘Bahubali’ made this wheat.”
During the conversation, Jajera mentioned names of other brand influenced by popular tags — Masti Atta, sold after the release of ‘Bajirao Mastani’, Blackberry, Apple, Modi and Trump. Alt News found links of Modi and Apple atta on IndiaMark website. This was earlier fact-checked by India Today.
2) Packets of wheat flour sold by a brand called Jio Fresh was listed on Amazon. The product is no longer available. However, jaggery sold by Jio Fresh is available and as per the product details, they are manufactured by Andhra Pradesh-based Kusalava Agri Products.
3) We also located Jio Foods LLP on Zauba Corp which has five directors including one ‘Darshana Bhupendra Ambani’. House of Bhaishankars Foods Pvt Ltd is listed as Jio Food LLP on IndiaMart. However, we could not find ‘Jio Wheat’ seen in the viral images on IndiaMart.
Using the GST number mentioned on IndiaMart, we found that Jio Food LLP is based out of Mumbai and registered in 2017. The GST registration was cancelled on 05/02/2019 (February 2, 2019).
4) A satirical video about Jio Atta was uploaded by a YouTuber in 2018. Based on point 2 and 3, we can conclude that Jio wheat, even if it exists, wasn’t a recent launch.
However, RIL does have an e-commerce venture is called JioMart which is an online store where products of different brands are sold.
Alt News reached out to a Reliance spokesperson via email. He informed, “Wheat sacks are not RIL products as Jio is not in the food business. As for Jio Mart, it is an online grocery channel that doesn’t manufacture products. Therefore, it cannot be related to Jio Atta images. I can confirm that Darshan Bhupendra Ambani is not part of any RIL promoter-owned companies.”
He further added, “If you have stayed in India long enough, you must have observed that there is a thriving market for duplicate products. So much so it has been reported by The Economics Times (ET), India TV, and ScoopWhoop. The reason behind a market for fakes is explained by ET — “Buying fake luxury products happens at a consumer’s volition when he wants to meet his esteem needs but not pay the price. It’s called ‘willful counterfeiting’ in industry parlance. And consumers in India can easily get away with it since we don’t have laws that can get one arrested for purchasing fake premium products (unlike France and Italy).”
Therefore, images of a wheat brand named ‘Jio’ were shared with the false claim that Reliance has entered the agricultural sector and the farm bills were passed to benefit the company. Recently, Alt News debunked the claim that Adani owns Indian Railway after a clip of Fortune Fresh Atta’s ad on a locomotive went viral.