Agriculture

After 3-Year Delay, Government Releases Farmer Suicide Data

Maharashtra continues to account for the highest number of farmer suicides in the country with 3,661 in 2016.

New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has confirmed, in the National Crime Records Bureau’s accidental deaths and suicides in India report released on Friday, that 11,379 farmers died by suicide in India in 2016. This translates into 948 suicides every month, or 31 suicides every day.

In July 2018, the government had told the Lok Sabha that 11,370 farmers committed suicide in India in 2016. But, it had said that the data was provisional and the NCRB was yet to release a final report.

That final report of accidental deaths and suicides in India has now been released. It was last released in 2015.

The number of farmer suicides has shown a decline as per government data, coming down to 11,379 in 2016 from 12,360 in 2014 and 12,602 in 2015. For 2016, the NCRB has not released information for the cause of farmer suicides.

A majority of the farmers who died by suicide in India were men while women accounted for only 8.6% of farmer suicides in the country. One of the reasons for this wide discrepancy could be that a large number of women who work on farms are not characterised as farmers.

Maharashtra continues to account for the highest number of farmer suicides in the country with 3,661 in 2016. It also recorded the highest number of farmer suicides in 2014 and 2015 at 4,004 and 4,291 respectively.

Also read: Andhra Pradesh: Trying to ‘Prove’ Farmer Suicides, Families Left in Lurch

According to a recent report, aa RTI application filed in Maharashtra revealed that 15,356 farmers died by suicide in the state between 2013 and 2018.

Karnataka saw the second highest number of farmer suicides in 2016 at 2,079. In 2015, 1,569 farmers had died suicide in the state.

Farmer suicides in Telangana have more than halved. In 2014 and 2015 the number of farmer suicides in the state stood at 1,347 and 1,400 respectively. For 2016 the number was 645 as per the NCRB data.

West Bengal continues to not provide data on farmer suicides. Both for 2015 and 2016 the number of suicides in the state as per data provided to NCRB by West Bengal were zero. In 2014, the state reported 230 suicides. The state of Bihar also reported zero farmer suicides in 2016.

But, several news reports of farmer suicides have emerged both from Bihar and West Bengal.

With the data for 2016, 3,33,407 farmers have died by suicide in India since 1995, when the NCRB started publishing farmer suicide data.