A total of 5,650 farmers committed suicide across India in 2014 with almost half of farmer suicide cases being reported from Maharashtra, says the first ever comprehensive data on farmers’ suicides by National Crime Records Bureau.
The reasons for these farmers’ death, according to the report, were poor debt, bankruptcy, crop failure or family problems.
Maharashtra with 2,568 suicide cases is followed by Telangana (898), Madhya Pradesh (826) and Chhattisgarh (443). Karnataka is the only state in the south reporting high number (321) of farmer suicides. These fives states alone accounted for almost 67 percent of total number of farmers’ suicides nationally.
Tamil Nadu had 68 cases of farmers’ suicide in the state. But there were 827 farm labourers, who committed suicide in the state thereby taking Tamil Nadu to number four position on overall agriculture related suicides after Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.
According to the data, Goa, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and northeast states reported zero incidents of farmers’ suicide in 2014.
This is the time that the NCRB has collected data on farmer-suicides besides also distinguishing between the deaths of agricultural labourers and farmers.
Overall, 12,360 agriculture-related suicides were recorded in 2014, of which 6,710 were farm labourers and the rest, 5,650, were farmers.
1,163 farmers who chose to end their lives were bankrupt or under severe debt, 952 committed suicides due to crop failures and 250 killed themselves because of their alcohol addiction or drug abuse.
With half of India’s population relying on agriculture, this latest data will be a wake-up call for India’s policy makers, who’ve been accused of ignoring the plight of Indian farmers.