India, which is a predominantly agricultural country, has been experiencing fluctuations in GDP since 1990s and inconsistency in the supply chain. This has driven several farmers to the point of committing suicides to end their problems— a number that is disturbingly high in the northern states. It makes us really wonder that what is the cause behind this irony. Increasing debts, high cultivation costs, poor market returns, imperfect market conditions and inadequate institutional credits were the major factors responsible for this loss.
Being the largest state in India, Rajasthan is a state where at least 414 farmers committed suicide every year until 2013. This was mainly because of droughts and low annual rainfall. Moreover, use of traditional irrigation technologies hampered favourable crop produce.
However, the latest report published by the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) has put Rajasthan among the states that witnessed a sharp decline in farmer suicides last year. According to NCRB’s reports, the number of farmer suicides came down from 373 in 2014 to 76 in 2015 that indirectly reflects the happiness quotient of crop producers in state.
In 2014, about 373 agriculturists and labourers committed suicide in the state due to debts and poverty. Compared to 2013, the state recorded 79.62% dip in farmer suicide rate. In 2014, 73 agricultural labourers and 3 cultivators committed suicide due to financial constraints.
As per NCRB, the conditions in Rajasthan are far better than other states, especially Maharashtra that tops the list of farmer suicides with 4,291 deaths occurring 2015. Karnataka was the second on the list with 1,569 deaths, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh. All six states contribute to 87.5% of total suicides occurring in the farming sector at national level.
It’s a matter of pride for Rajasthan that has witnessed total 2,071 suicides between 2009 to 2013. Changing government policies and increased vigilance could be the reason behind this accomplishment. Rajasthan government has recently organised the Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) to introduce advanced agricultural policies in state.
The event primarily focused on farm mechanisation, organic farming and solar technologies. The government is hoping that it’ll bring down the suicides to zero some day.