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
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.
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.