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Seeds of dissent

As the climate emergency exacerbates an ongoing agrarian crisis, India’s farmers are fighting for their livelihoods

At the border of India’s capital city, New Delhi, temperatures are soaring. As the heat inches above 40°C, farmers rallying against three agricultural reform laws passed by the government in November 2020 are still here, protesting. It has been more than six months since one of the biggest and most vibrant protests in human history began, but as a second, deadly wave of COVID-19 devastates the country, farmers are now battling the state with their lives on the line.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims that the contentious laws will bring much-needed private sector investment into a key segment of the economy – by loosening regulations that deal with the stocking, pricing and selling of produce. But dissidents maintain that it will only worsen their condition – eroding the safety that is guaranteed by minimum support prices (MSPs) for some crops and handing over more power to large agribusinesses.

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