ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Farmer SuicidesSubscribe to Farmer Suicides

Farmer Suicides in India, 1997–2013

A critical examination of the official data on farmer suicides reveals a poor understanding of the issue. Yet, it also reveals that farmers’ suicides, on average, account for 14% of the total suicides in the country. It peaked at 16% in 2004, consequently falling to 9% in 2013. It is a region-specific issue and those states with high farmer suicides have persistently remained so. The underlying causes of farmer suicides and non-farmer suicides may be similar across states on account of a high correlation between their corresponding numbers, suggesting that the causes of suicides may include factors other than economic and livelihood issues.

Agrarian Crisis and Agricultural Labourer Suicides in Punjab

Punjab’s economy is engulfed in a serious agrarian crisis. The capitalisation of agricultural production processes has squeezed employment opportunities and wage rates in the farm sector. The agrarian crisis in the state has pushed the agricultural labourers towards low earnings and debt traps, which have led them towards death by suicide. Based on a door-to-door and village-to-village survey of 2,400 villages falling in the jurisdiction of six districts of Punjab, the present study reveals that 7,303 agricultural labourers died by suicide in the state during 2000–18. The financial compensation, debt waiver, provision of healthcare and education of victim families along with safeguarding of legal entitlements regarding wage enhancements and land rights, and agro-industrialisation are main policy measures for addressing the act of suicide by agricultural labourers.

Farmer Suicides in Maharashtra, 2001–2018

Farmer suicides are an unfortunate result of the agrarian distress plaguing the rural economy of many states of the country. Marathwada and Vidarbha regions in Maharashtra have recorded very high numbers of farmer suicides, and an attempt to calculate the number of suicides and the suicide mortality rate is the first step towards gaining an in-depth understanding of the prevalence and seriousness of the issue. An analysis of the data reveals the relationship between farmer suicides and issues such as monsoon failure, water shortage, drought, absence of social security, robust crop procurement mechanisms and increasing debt burdens.

How Can We Manage Drought Without Water-Use Data?

Measures to mitigate drought only seek to address its effects, rather than finding ways to prevent it.

How Can We Understand India’s Agrarian Struggle Beyond ‘Modi Sarkar Murdabad’?

India is witnessing a new wave of agrarian protest. Grounded in a deep crisis in the country's agricultural sector, these protests express a deep sense of disappointment in the economic policies of the Modi regime. This article discusses how the new agrarian struggle should be understood as a symptom of the disintegration of the Modi regime's project of authoritarian populism. However, the author proposes that addressing India's agrarian crisis will require far more than simply ousting the Modi government. He argues that today's crisis is grounded in the neo-liberal reforms that have shaped India's political economy since the early 1990s, and it is therefore necessary to counter the crisis with a definite break with neo-liberalisation.

Widows of Farmer Suicide Victims in Vidarbha

Farmer suicides due to agricultural distress are a tenacious and recurring tragedy that plunge the lives of the unprepared widows into chaos. First, the widows must struggle to survive in the same circumstances that claimed the lives of their husbands, but with much less experience and guidance. Second, the widows must emerge from entrenched invisibility imposed upon them by the state, the community, and even the family. However, the study of five widows of the farmer suicides across a decade in Vidarbha reveals differential dependence and autonomy. The widow-headed households of earlier cases appear to succeed with time as compared to the later cases, and mostly through their own individual agency. The study, originally conducted through the years 2014–17 in 18 villages of six tehsils of two districts of Vidarbha, also points to normalisation of distress of widows that leads to their continuous exclusion from the state understanding of farmer suicides.

Death in the Midst of Plenty

There remain misconceptions regarding farmer suicides. There is a need to set right these erroneous ideas based on scientific studies that have been conducted seeking to devise solutions to address the prevailing crisis of the peasantry in Punjab.

Farmer Suicides in India

In an effort to understand the trends of farmer suicides, this article uses data from the National Crime Records Bureau to estimate the suicide mortality rate of farmers and non-farmers for India and its states. The methodology used corrects for an error present in previous studies and alters some commonly held views about the level and trend of farmer suicides in India.

Crisis in Agrarian Economy in Punjab

Agricultural production and crop yields in Punjab have nearly stagnated. Land and water, the two most critical resources on which Punjab's rural economy is built, have sharply deteriorated over time. Profit margins of the farmers have come down drastically. The paper argues that there is an urgent need to diversify the state's agrarian economy not only in the narrow sense of diversification within the crop husbandry sector, but also in its wider sense, i e, to promote allied agricultural and non-farm activities and agro-processing in rural area.

Suicide by Farmers in Karnataka

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab have been rocked by the suicides of a large number of farmers, posing a serious challenge to policy-makers. This paper attempts to identify the agro-economic situations faced by the farming community, as well as other factors, as reflected by the case studies of the suicide victims, and to suggest remedial measures to avert such tragedies in future.

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