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NEW DELHI: The number of suicides by those engaged in the farm sector witnessed a marginal decline in 2019 as compared to 2018, with their share in the country’s 1.39 lakh suicides too falling to 7.4% from 7.7% during the corresponding period.
As per the report on ‘Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India’ (ADSI) for the year 2019 released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a profession-wise break up of suicides shows that 23.4% were daily wagers, while 15.4% were housewives. In 2018, the share of daily-wagers was slightly lower at 22.4%, while the share of housewives at 17.1% was higher.
Of the 10,281 suicides by farmers, cultivators and agricultural labourers reported last year, down from 10,349 in 2018, 5,957 were farmers or cultivators and 4,324 agricultural labourers.
Maharashtra accounted for the highest share (38.2%) in suicides related to the farm sector in 2019, followed by Karnataka (19.4%), Andhra Pradesh (10%), Madhya Pradesh (5.3%) and Telangana/Chhattisgarh (4.9% each).
Interestingly, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry reported ‘zero’ suicides by farmers, cultivators and agricultural labourers in 2019. This was also the case in 2018, with West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Goa, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Ladakh and Puducherry returning ‘nil’ suicides.
From 2018 onwards, NCRB report on suicides has not been giving the break-up of farmers’ suicides based on causes such as farm distress, crop failure, family problems etc. In reply to a Parliament question, the home ministry had stated that it was untenable to record reasons for farm suicides with many states reporting ‘nil’ suicides.
Interestingly, ADSI 2019 report claims it contains details of farmer’s suicides by causes, social status, educational status, etc. But this data has not been put out.
Overall, the total suicides in the country rose 3.4% from 1.34 lakh in 2018 to 1.39 lakh last year. Rate of suicides too (suicides per lakh of population) too went up from 10.2 to 10.4 in the corresponding period. Family problems, marriage-related issues and illness together accounted for around 55% of the total suicides in the country.
While 70.2% of the suicide victims were male, 29.8% were women.

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