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