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NCRB data reveals that farmer suicides have been the lowest in India since 1995

The NCRB report stated, "A total of 10,281 persons involved in farming sector (consisting of 5,957 farmers/cultivators and 4,324 agricultural labourers) have committed suicides during 2019." In the same year, farmer suicides constituted 7.5% of the total suicides in the country.

On September 1, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) published the data on accidental deaths and suicides in India for the year 2019. As per the latest data [pdf], the farmer suicides in the country has been the lowest since 1995.

The NCRB report stated, “A total of 10,281 persons involved in farming sector (consisting of 5,957 farmers/cultivators and 4,324 agricultural labourers) have committed suicides during 2019…” In the same year, farmer suicides constituted 7.5% of the total suicides in the country.

Decline in farmer suicides since 2015: lowest since 1995

It is noteworthy to mention that the number of farmer suicides has been the lowest in the past 25 years. In 1995, a total of 10, 720 farmers had committed suicide. The number skyrocketed in 2004 with a total of 18,241 cases of suicide. Since 2015, there has been a downward trend in the number of farmers committing suicide. While the number was 12,602 in 2015, it fell to 11, 379 in 2016. The numbers continued to decline with 10,655 (2017), 10,349 (2018) and 10,281 (2019) deaths.

Year-on-year numbers of farmer suicides in NCRB data, image via Hindustan Times

Performance of States in preventing farmer suicides

The NCRB report noted, “Certain States/UTs namely, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Delhi, UT, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry reported zero suicides of Farmers/Cultivators as well as Agricultural Labourers.” Having said that, the majority of farmer suicides took place in Maharashtra (38.2%), Karnataka (19.4%), Madhya Pradesh (7.8%), Andhra Pradesh (10%), Telangana (4.9%), and Chhattisgarh (4.9%).

Casualties higher among males than females

The report stated that out of 5,957 cultivators who committed suicide in 2019, only 394 were females. The remaining 5,563 people who killed themselves were males. “Out of 4,324 suicides committed by agricultural labourers during 2019, 3,749 were
male and 575 were female,” the report emphasised.

Meanwhile, the data stated that the total number of suicides in the country increased to 139,123 in 2019 from 1,34,516.

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