10,881 farm suicides in 2021, most in 5 years; Punjab sees 270 deaths : The Tribune India

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10,881 farm suicides in 2021, most in 5 years; Punjab sees 270 deaths

10,881 farm suicides in 2021, most in 5 years; Punjab sees 270 deaths

Photo for representation. File photo



Tribune News Service

Karam Prakash

New Delhi, June 4

As many as 10,881 persons engaged in the farm sector died by suicide in 2021, the count highest over the preceding five years, according to a report released on Sunday by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

On an average, nearly 30 farmers and farm labourers died by suicide in 2021, said the CSE, a research think-tank. “Despite the Centre promising to double farm income, the number of farmers dying by suicide has been rising,” read the report.

Maharashtra reported the highest 4,064 suicides, followed by Karnataka (2,169) and MP (671). In Punjab, 270 farm-related deaths were witnessed in the year while the count stood at 226 in Haryana, 141 in Rajasthan and 24 in Himachal Pradesh. Compared to 2020, nine states witnessed an increase in suicides in 2021, with Assam alone seeing a nearly 13-fold rise. A government report in 2016-17 had cited three main reasons for the alarming trend: Frequent crop failure due to vagaries of weather, absence of assured water resources and pest attacks or diseases.

A parliamentary panel on agriculture had, in a report tabled in Parliament on March 23 this year, revealed that the government was far from its 2022 goal of doubling the farm income. The panel said the average monthly agricultural household income had risen by a meagre about Rs 2,000 from Rs 8,059 in 2015-16 to Rs 10,218 in 2018-19.

Devinder Sharma, an agriculture expert, said farmers were unable to reap the “rightful income”. “They are caught in the vicious debt cycle. The government must ensure direct income support to bail them out,” he said.

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