Farmers suicide went up in K'taka, M'rashtra in 2017

Farmers suicide went up in K'taka, M'rashtra in 2017

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Farmers’ suicides in Maharashtra and Karnataka have risen in 2017 compared to the previous year even as latest government data claimed that such incidents have shown a 6.36% decline nationwide.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has made public the Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2017 report, two- months after it released the 2016 figures.

According to the 2017 report, 10,655- people engaged in farming sector have committed suicide and this number includes 5,633 farmers and 4,700 agricultural labourers. This number could be more as West Bengal and Odisha and other 10 small states and Union Territories have recorded that there was not a single suicide of farmers or agricultural labourers there.

There were 11,379 suicides - 6,270 farmers and 5,109 agricultural labourers - in 2016.

Like in the 2016 report, this time too the NCRB does not provide reasons for the suicide of farmers, as it was done earlier. The NCRB said this data depicts only profession of persons who have committed suicide and has no linkage whatsoever regarding cause of suicide.

Maharashtra topped the list with 3,701 suicides compared to 3,661 in 2016 and this included 2,426 farmers (2,550 in 2016) and 1,275 agricultural labourers (1,111). In three years from 2015, there are 11,653 farm sector related suicides.

Like Maharashtra, Karnataka too had registered a rise in farmers’ suicides - from 2,079 to 2,160. While there was a marginal decrease in the number of farmers’ suicide from 1,212 in 2016 to 1,157 in Karnataka, the number of agricultural labourers rose from 867 to 1,003.

At least five states - Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu - have more agricultural labourers committing suicides compared to farmers.

In Gujarat, where 133 people engaged in farming sector committed suicide, only four were farmers while the rest were agricultural labourers while in Tamil Nadu, 369 agricultural workers and 19 farmers took the extreme step. In Kerala, 257 out of 299 suicides were that of agricultural labourers.

Madhya Pradesh had 526 labourers and 429 farmers committing suicide while the figure for Andhra Pradesh was 441 and 375 respectively.

Activists said the main reason for labourers committing suicide was that there was no enough work for them and they were in distress. Besides, they said, they could not find work through under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

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