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Photo: Sakib Ali/Hindustan Times via Getty

Leaders of a farmers' protest in India held a day-long hunger strike on Monday and reiterated their calls for nationwide protests over new laws to deregulate Indian agriculture, Al Jazeera reports.

Why it matters: Farmers say the laws will drive down crop prices and benefit big corporations. They've taken the government by surprise with large demonstrations in New Delhi, which have now continued for 19 days.

  • Farmers are calling on the government to revoke the laws and restore price floors for crops like grain.
  • Thousands have camped out on the outskirts of New Delhi and blocked off at least five major highways into the city, per AP.

The big picture: Agriculture contributes 15% of India’s economy and employs nearly 60% of its 1.4 billion people.

  • But many Indian farmers are struggling to make a living or escape their debts, particularly during the pandemic downturn. Suicides among farmers have spiked, the NY Times reports.

The three farm laws passed in September were intended to boost the sector and remove the need for middlemen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

  • They allow farmers to sell produce to private buyers, not just government-run markets where they're guaranteed a minimum price.
  • But critics say the laws are flawed. “Our agriculture regulation needs change, but the new laws will end up serving corporate interests more than farmers," argued Kaushik Basu, the former World Bank chief economist and a top economic adviser to a previous Indian government.
  • Talks between farmers and the government have failed. Farmers' unions soundly rejected an amended government proposal last week.

Where things stand: Farmers have protested for almost two months in Punjab and Haryana states, but things escalated three weeks ago when tens of thousands marched to New Delhi and clashed with police, per AP.

Go deeper

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC: Unvaccinated are over 11 times more likely to die from COVID

Expand chart
Reproduced from CDC; Note: Data represents 30% of Americans across 16 jurisdictions: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York City, Seattle/King County, Wash., Utah and Wisconsin; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The CDC recently published data evaluating Americans' rate of coronavirus cases and deaths by vaccine status, providing more data on which vaccines are working best and how much protection they offer relative to being unvaccinated.

What they found: As of August, unvaccinated people had a more than six times higher risk of testing positive for the coronavirus, and were more than 11 times more likely to die from the virus.