Protesting farmers on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, February 2021 
Adnan Abidi / Reuters

In September 2020, India’s Parliament passed three bills designed to change the way the country bought and sold agricultural goods. With its commanding majority in the legislature, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) forced the bills through with little discussion. Such haste and unilateralism are not unusual for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which sought little input before eliminating all high-denomination cash bills in 2016, for example, or rushing a year later to implement a new goods and services tax. But while those earlier policies caused hardship and sparked some minor protests, the consequences of the farm bills are

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