A study conducted across 13 States by the Union Agriculture Ministry throws up the all-too-familiar reasons that drive farmers to suicide.
The Ministry’s agricultural economic research unit, Agricultural and Rural Transformation Centre (ADRTC) of the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bengaluru, investigated farmers’ suicides in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The story behind each death points to frequent crop failure, vagaries of the monsoon, absence of assured water resources, attacks of pests and diseases, debts, farming and social causes.
Nothing has changed on the ground for the farmer in the past two years, as is clear from the Union Home Ministry’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which disseminates and compiles information on “suicides of self-employed in farming/agriculture” in its publication Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India.
NCRB reports up to 2015 reveal identical causes of suicides among farmers — bankruptcy, farming-related issues, family problems, illness, drug abuse or alcoholism.