Disturbing Surge in Suicides Among Agricultural Laborers vs. Farmers in India- Insights from NCRB Report

Between 2018 and 2022, India has seen a steady increase in suicides among people associated with farming. Most of them come from Dalit, tribal and backward communities.
Out of 11,290 deaths by suicide last year, 53 percent were agricultural laborers.
Out of 11,290 deaths by suicide last year, 53 percent were agricultural laborers.

New Delhi- According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, between 2018 and 2022, India has seen a steady increase in suicides among people involved in farming, with the only exception being the year 2019, when a decline was recorded. According to an Indian Express report, in the two years following the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of suicides among agricultural laborers is far higher than that of farmers.

These are some of the findings of the NCRB report released on Monday. The report revealed that in 2022, there were 11,290 suicides in the agriculture sector in India, which is 3.75 percent more than the 10,881 suicides reported in 2021. Of these victims in 2022, 5,207 were farmers, and 6,083 were agricultural laborers.

In 2021, the respective numbers were 5,318 farmers and 5,563 farm laborers. The trend of more suicides among agricultural laborers than farmers began only after 2020. Of the 10,677 suicides in the agriculture sector in 2020, 5,579 were farmers, and 5,098 were agricultural laborers. Similarly, in 2019, the only year when suicides in the agriculture sector recorded a decline, 5,957 farmers and 4,324 agricultural laborers ended their lives. In 2018, 5,763 farmers committed suicide, and 4,586 farm laborers ended their lives.

The NCRB report does not specify the definition of farmers and agricultural laborers. The operating holding is used to differentiate between marginal, small, medium, and large laborers. Farmers having land up to 1 hectare (2.5 acres) are called marginal farmers, while small farmers have land up to 1–2 hectares.

Another figure has emerged in the NCRB data that is quite worrying because, according to statistics, the death toll of agricultural laborers is higher than that of farmers. Out of 11,290 deaths by suicide in 2022, 53 percent or rather 6,083 specifically in numbers were agricultural laborers. These figures are also significant because, in recent years, it has been observed that the dependence of an average farmer family on agricultural labor is increasing more than on farm produce. This was revealed in the National Sample Survey released in 2021.

Out of 11,290 deaths by suicide last year, 53 percent were agricultural laborers.
Kerala Medical PG Association President in Custody Following Doctor Fiancée's Dowry-Related Suicide

In the sample survey, it was found that the maximum income of a farmer family was Rs 4,063, which came from wages received for agricultural labor. Whereas the income of farmers from agriculture and livestock has been continuously decreasing since 2013. Overall, there has not been much increase in the income of farmers. The survey, which is the most recent official data, revealed that the monthly income in 2019 was only Rs 10,218 per month.

According to NCRB data, the maximum number of suicide cases came from Maharashtra, where 4,248 agricultural laborers committed suicide. After this, 2,392 cases were reported in Karnataka, 917 in Andhra Pradesh, 728 in Tamil Nadu, and 641 in Madhya Pradesh. A greater increase in suicide cases was seen in Uttar Pradesh, where there was a 42.13 percent increase in farmer suicide cases compared to 2021. There was also an increase of 31.65 percent in Chhattisgarh. In some states and union territories like West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Chandigarh, Delhi, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry, not a single case of suicide of farmers as well as agricultural laborers has been reported.

Farmer leader Rajiv Yadav has accused the government of ignoring agricultural laborers. He said that most of the agricultural laborers are from Dalit and backward communities. Due to this, the administrative and political class does not pay attention to this. Unemployment has increased due to a lack of work. Wages have decreased, and working hours have increased. Changes in labour laws have psychologically made people frustrated about life. Rampant inflation and arbitrary corporate MRP on food items have driven daily wage agricultural laborers away from the market. Purchasing power has weakened. One cannot survive with just five kilos of ration. After Corona, this section has largely been the victim of diseases like dengue. The treatment has gone beyond its capacity. This section belongs to the backward, extremely backward, and Dalit castes, about whose rights the government is indifferent.

Also Read-

Out of 11,290 deaths by suicide last year, 53 percent were agricultural laborers.
Gaurav J. Pathania: The Academician Who Portrays Baba Saheb in 'Origin,' Hollywood's First Movie Centered on Ambedkar
Out of 11,290 deaths by suicide last year, 53 percent were agricultural laborers.
India's COP28 Decision Signals Independence in Climate Policy
Out of 11,290 deaths by suicide last year, 53 percent were agricultural laborers.
Waiter Beaten to Death for Spilling Food, Dalit Sarpanch Tied to Tree and Brutally Assaulted

You can also join our WhatsApp group to get premium and selected news of The Mooknayak on WhatsApp. Click here to join the WhatsApp group.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The Mooknayak English - Voice Of The Voiceless
en.themooknayak.com