Rate of farmers in India committing suicide increased recently. Farmers continue to end their lives due to a persisted agriculture crisis. The farmer suicide figures have doubled alone in Maharashtra in four years to 11,995. Many farmers in India are committing suicide due to crop failure by heavy rains.
The Extent of the Problem
National Crime Record’s Bureau recently released the data on farmers’ suicide that confirmed the suicide of 11,379 farmers in 2016. Sadly, every region in the country is depicting a similar trend of farmer suicides. According to the report, Maharashtra contributed around 40% to the total deaths making it to the top of the list. Amravati reported more than 180,000 farmers’ suicide in over two decades making it the epicenter of the agrarian crisis. The report revealed that women farmers suicide rate is also on the rise. A psychiatrist at Amravati’s state-run mental health program for distressed farmers stated that women commit suicide when they are out of every option available while the men do it under the influence of an intoxicant, thus making the action impulsive.
Similarly, Punjab reported 16,606 farmer suicides during 2000-2015. The victim’s families accuse the government of not signing the loan waiver at the right time. Moreover, the government is withholding financial aid despite the completion of all the formalities.
The reasons for such extreme steps are many. The fluctuations in weather conditions, rising input costs, and piling of debts, all add to this. One reason accounted for farmers’ suicide is the easy availability of loan that encourages them to spend it non-agricultural purposes. Statistics conclude that India has 93 million micro finance account mostly belonging to women. As banks do not provide credit if the previous loan is not paid, it is when these micro-credit companies come into role and target women. The women in Self-help groups stand as guarantors and enter the cycle of indebtedness.
In conclusion, the sooner we take up the root cause, the easier it will be to save farmers lives. Helping farmers cope with climate change should be government’s number one priority to curb farmer suicides in India.