Fewer farmers committed suicide in 2016 compared to 2015 on account of drought improvement, say experts

The number of farmer suicides across India had reduced in 2016 in comparison to 2015, a government report revealed. However, suicides among agricultural labourers have increased.

According to a report in The Indian Express, a government report released in Parliament on Tuesday — 2016 is the latest data available — said that there were 6,351 farmer suicides in 2016 as compared to 8,007 in 2015, which is a drop of 21 percent.

 Fewer farmers committed suicide in 2016 compared to 2015 on account of drought improvement, say experts

Representational image. PTI

The report, however, showed that agricultural labour suicides have increased by 10 percent. From 4,595 farm labour suicides in 2015, the number of suicides went up to 5,019 in 2016.

With the exception of Telangana, all states which have witnessed a drop in farmer suicides have also witnessed an increase in farm labour suicides.

Experts believe that the reduction in suicides among farmers and the increase of suicides among farm labourers could be due to the fact that 2014 and 2015 were drought years and the crisis was more severe. The 2016 monsoon was good but for labourers, the first six months of 2016 too were a period of no work.

“A farmer lives on the hope of a good monsoon. A labourer may not have the same capacity to withstand the crisis,” an expert told The Indian Express.

In Maharashtra, fewer farmers committed suicides in April this year, in comparison to the duration between January and March 2018.

While the state claimed it was a possible effect of its decision to waive farm loans, agricultural experts warned that the drop could be temporary and the government should not start patting its back yet, according to a report in the Hindustan Times

In April, there were 188 cases of farmer suicides, lower than the monthly average of 225 to 250 in the first three months of this year, the relief and rehabilitation department’s statistics showed.

The department said the trend was seen across the state but was more significant in parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha.

“I don’t think farmers’ distress has reduced,” said Vijay Jawandhiya, an agriculture analyst told Hindustan Times. “If the government claims a drop in suicides, it may be statistical jugglery. Agricultural finances have worsened in the wake of falling prices to produce such as tur, chana and cotton, among others.”

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Updated Date: Jul 25, 2018 16:34:45 IST