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

VidarbhaSubscribe to Vidarbha

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.

Implementation of Community Forest Rights

The Vidarbha region of Maharashtra presents a unique case in the implementation of community forest rights where much of the region’s potential community forest rights claims have been recognised in the name of gram sabhas under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The key factors like the collective action of gram sabhas , the role of non-governmental organisations, grassroots organisations, and state implementing agencies, and their collaboration in advancing the implementation of cfr are explained here. There is need to support the upscaling of cfr across India, and to analyse the broader implications for forest resource governance at a national scale.

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.
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