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GEOGRAPHY OF FARMER SUICIDES

Why in news?

Farmer suicides have not increased, New data and research in recent years and may have more complex causes than falling incomes or rising indebtedness.

Details

  • The overall farmer suicide rate decreases in India but Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala remain suicide hotspots even with doubts about NCRB data
  • The ultimate sign of distress is suicide. Amid the ongoing rural distress, reports of farmer suicides are often used to highlight the plight of rural India.
  • However, new data and research suggest that farmer suicides may not have increased in recent years and may have more complex causes than falling incomes or rising indebtedness
  • According to the 2018 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, the rate of farmer suicides in India has decreased over the last few years.
  • This decrease comes even as overall suicide rates remained fairly constant and rural poverty shot up
Data of farmer suicide rates
Data of farmer suicide rates
  • National figures, though, mask the significant variation in farmer suicide rates across states.
  • Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Kerala reported the highest suicide rates in 2018, as per NCRB data.
  • A 2014 study of farmer suicides between 1997-2012 had placed these three states among those with a major problem regarding suicides
  • The study also classified a group of states that have had little problem with farmer suicides historically.
  • This group included Punjab but that seems to have changed in recent years.
  • Among the major agrarian states, Punjab has experienced a sharp jump in farmer suicides with more than a fivefold increase.
  • Some states seem to barely have a farmer suicide issue, the NCRB data suggests.
  •  In 2018, six states, including Bihar, Odisha, and West Bengal reported zero farmer suicides.
Chart of Farmer suicide rates.
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December 2022
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