In a stark reflection of the continuing distress in rural India, the number of suicides by farmers and farm labourers increased five per cent at 12,360 in 2014 against 11,772 in the previous year, showed a report by the National Crime Records Bureau. Of this, 5,650 were farmers, while 6,710 were agriculture labourers.
The report on Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India in 2014, segregated farmers from those who are engaged in agriculture as labourers, while in 2013 it had included all those engaged in farming, irrespective of being a farmer or a labourer.
Bankruptcy and indebtedness accounted for the major cause of suicides at 22.8 per cent, followed by family problems at 22.3 per cent. Only, 19 per cent of the total farmer suicides in 2014 were related to poor farming, the data showed.
Maharashtra with 2,568 suicides topped the chart, followed by Telangana with 898 suicides. Madhya Pradesh too was not far behind and 826 farmer suicides were recorded in 2014. Out of the total 5,650 farmers who committed suicide in 2014, 4,446 owned land, while just 701 had leased land.
The data showed that small and marginal farmers - owning less than two hectares - accounted for around 72.4 per cent of the total suicides, while the remaining held more than 2 hectares. In Maharashtra and Telangana, around 53.1 and 14.5 per cent of the total farmers committing suicide were small and marginal in 2014.
More than half of the farmers committing suicide, at around 66 per cent, were in the age-group of 30 years to 60 years and an overwhelming of them were men.
Maharashtra, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka accounted for almost 89.5 per cent of the total 5,650 farmer suicides in 2014.
India's farm growth in 2014-15 dipped to almost 1.1 per cent as per the new GDP series as against 3.7 per cent in the previous year, as both the kharif and rabi harvest was impacted first due to uncertain monsoon and thereafter on account of unseasonal rains.