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Monday, June 09, 2014

INDIA, SUICIDE, FARMER

 
India: over 14000 Farmers committed suicide in 2011  

"As per the NCRB report, at least 14004 farmers of India committed suicide in the year 2011 which is more than 10.3 per cent of the total number of suicides in the country through the year. Factoring the issues like huge underreporting of cases and the practice of never counting women as 'farmers', the actual number of incidents must be much more. This must be enough to shame any country let alone the one that claims to be the 'largest democracy' of the world."

 
Basudev Mahapatra  
   

When the political leadership of India is lobbying to see the country in the list of superpower nations in a few years time, the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report brings shocking revelations on suicide rate in the country and confirms that more than 1,35,585 people committed suicide in India in 2011. This indicates an increase of 0.7% over the previous year's figure, which was 1,34,599.

More shocking than the general statistics of suicide in India is the number of farmers who committed suicide in 2011 for different reasons. As per the NCRB report, at least 14004 farmers committed suicide in India in the year 2011 which is more than 10.3 per cent of the total number of suicides in the country through the year.

 

Factoring the issues like huge underreporting of cases and the practice of never counting women as 'farmers', the actual number of incidents must be much more. This must be enough to shame any country let alone the one that claims to be the 'largest democracy' of the world.

Not really, for the state did not seem to do even as much as taking note of a situation that should have set off alarm bells. More so, for it was not the first time that the government has found these many of farmers, citizens otherwise, committing suicide. The corresponding figures for the year before were pegged at an even higher 15933.

Such alarming figure after almost half a decade of implementation of welfare schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) speaks volumes about the failure of the programme and the enormity of distress. Unmistakably, it is not merely the worst of the times that Indian peasantry has undergone but in fact is, as P Sainath puts it, 'the worst-ever recorded wave of suicides of this kind in human history.' With more than 15000 farmers committing suicide annually, the situation warrants a response at war footing. Unfortunately, the government has not even bothered to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and paying lip service to it.

As per the overall statistics on suicide in India, West Bengal topped the list of states reporting highest number of suicides with 16,492 cases accounting for 12.2% of total suicides whereas, Tamil Nadu with 11.8% (15,963), Maharashtra 11.8% (15,947), Andhra Pradesh 11.1% (15,077) and Karnataka with its share of 9.3% (12,622) of the total suicides in the country followed in the list. These five States together accounted for 56.2% of the total suicides reported in the country.

Among the other States and Union Territories which have reported significant increase in Suicides in 2011 over 2010 were Nagaland where number of suicides increased to 275.0% in a year) followed by Chandigarh (47.9%), Meghalaya (41.7%), Uttar Pradesh (33.5%), Odisha (23.2%), Uttarakhand (12.8%), Haryana (12.1%), Delhi (11.2%) and J & K (10.8) as compared to the National average of 0.7%. However, the state of Bihar saw a decrease in the number of suicides from 1,226 in 2010 to 795 in 2011.

 

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