Over 12,000 farmers and farm labourers have committed suicide across the country in 2014, government said in Rajya Sabha on Friday. Observing that 5,650 farmers and over 6,000 farm labourers had committed suicide, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the total number of suicides relating to the farm sector in 2014 stood at 12,360.
As several members expressed concern over farm deaths during Question Hour, Singh said the total number of suicides in the country during 2014, including those in the farm sector, was over 1.31 lakh.
He also rejected a member’s charge that cases of farmers’ suicide were being under-reported. As members suggested providing central compensation to the kin of the deceased and waiving off their loans, Singh said that improving the income of farmers was the most important solution and the government is focussing on it.
The Minister also said that the government had launched a number of schemes to alleviate the distress of agriculture sector including the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, while various states have increased the amount provided to families of those farmers who commit suicide.
While in Punjab, compensation has been enhanced from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh since July last year, Andhra Pradesh has also increased the amount to Rs 5 lakh.
In Telangana too, the state government has enhanced the compensation in case of farmer suicides from Rs one lakh to Rs 5 lakh, while in Karnataka, each of the family members of the farmer committing suicide is provided with Rs one lakh each. In Maharashtra, an amount of Rs one lakh is provided.