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Nikhil Dey, social activist and founding member of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, interviewed by Civil Society News (CivilSocietyOnline.com)

-Civil Society News As people pour into villages from cities in a desperate effort to get back home, the only work they can hope to get is under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act). The rural employment scheme was designed to help people in distressful situations like a flood or drought so that they had something to fall back on when there was nothing else. Will it be able to...

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COVID Lockdown: How India's Food Supply Chain First Tightened and then Recovered -Matt Lowe and Ben Roth

-TheWire.in Food supply shortages, if any, are driven by state level policy making, rather than consumers’ and suppliers’ fears of contracting COVID-19. In mid-April, the supply of fruits and vegetables at Azadpur mandi, Asia’s largest fruit and vegetable market, had fallen about 50% since the start of India’s nationwide lockdown. Two months later, updated nationwide data shows that India’s food supply chain appears to have recovered, operating at levels comparable to the same...

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EIA Legitimised Environmental Destruction. Now, Govt ‘Renovates’ it for the Worst. -Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli

-TheWire.in The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), a legal process that effectively grants projects like mines, dams and industries access to land, water, forests and other environmental resources has been used in India since 1994. On March 12, 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, the environment ministry put out a draft proposal to amend the EIA norms. The last date for public comments is June 30, 2020. The EIA was designed within...

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What does self-reliance really mean? Amazing stories emerge from India’s villages -Ashish Kothari

-The Hindu True self-reliance won’t come from relentless industrialisation, but from localisation and decentralisation, as demonstrated by these remarkable stories of empowered rural communities Not so long ago, Dalit women farmers in Telangana used to face hunger and deprivation. Today, they have contributed foodgrains for pandemic relief. Farmers on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border have been sending organic produce to Bengaluru even during the lockdown. And Adivasi villages in central India are using...

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Is the Agricultural Package Addressing Challenges Small Farmers Face in a Pandemic? -Gurpreet Singh and Rajeev Sharma

-TheWire.in The stimulus package has not made clear whether or how small farmers will really benefit. As agricultural activities are in full swing due to ongoing rabi harvest and forthcoming kharif sowing, the continuing lockdown in India is pushing small farmers further to the margins. While various governments (both Central and states) have announced relaxations for agricultural activities and support for farmers, impact of the lockdown can be seen in terms of...

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