New Delhi: A total of 14,277 farmers or cultivators died of suicide across the country in 2015 and 2016, with Maharashtra alone accounting for 5,580 of these, the Ministry of Home Affairs told Lok Sabha on Tuesday in response to a written query from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
As per the reply, furnished on the basis of National Crime Records Bureau data, four other states – Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana also accounted for over 1,000 farmers deaths during this two-year period.
In his query, Gandhi asked the Ministry if farmer suicide data for the last four years was available with it and if the NCRB had received the data from the states and Union Territories since 2016. He also asked the Centre to give reasons for not publishing the reports of accidental deaths and suicides in the country by the NCRB since 2015; and whether the Bureau intended to resume publication of such data.
Gandhi’s final query pertained to the way in which the government was formulating policies to address extreme cases of agrarian distress in the absence of the data?
In his reply, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, G. Kishan Reddy stated that NCRB had reported that many states and Union Territories gave “nil” data on suicides by farmers, cultivators and agricultural labourers. His reply also noted that “after getting the data vetted from the states/UTs,” NCRB published the ADSI report till 2016.
He said advisories have been issued by NCRB to all states and Union Territories to furnish complete data sets in a timely manner for speedy publication of the ADSI report.
The Ministry also gave out the state-wise details of farmers suicides for the year 2015 and 2016.
As per this, eight of the 29 states and five of the seven Union Territories show zero deaths.
On the other hand, the states with the highest incidence of farmer or cultivator deaths were Maharashtra with 3,030 deaths in 2015 and 2550 in 2016; Karnataka with 1,197 and 1,212 deaths; Telangana with 1,358 and 632 deaths; Chhattisgarh with 854 and 585; and Madhya Pradesh with 581 and 599 deaths during 2015 and 2016 respectively. In all, 8,007 such deaths by suicide were recorded in 2017 and 6,270 were noted the following year.