New Delhi: In a damage control move, the Agriculture Ministry on Friday said it was not the intention of its minister Radha Mohan Singh to attribute the causes of farmers suicides to issues like love affairs.
The clarification came as Singh's written reply in Parliament today made a reference to love affairs being a cause of suicide in a question on farmers suicides, triggering a storm with Opposition parties accusing the government of being insensitive.
In a late evening release, the ministry said it considers the issue of farmer suicide with "great sensitivity" and deals this matter with all the "seriousness it deserves."
"...It was not the intention of the Hon'ble Minister Agriculture to attribute the causes of farmers' suicide to issues like love affair etc. It has been taken out of context and is being highlighted in an unwarranted manner," it said.
The ministry in its reply has mentioned that "causes of suicides by farmers due to agrarian reasons, inter-alia, include indebtedness, crop failure, drought, etc," it added.
The Agriculture Ministry is extremely concerned about the issue of farmers' suicide and has rolled out large number of programmes to reduce the cost of cultivation and simultaneously increase per hectare yield, the statement said.
Elaborating on the issue, the ministry said that it relies on two sources for data on farmers suicides: the annual reports of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) and the data reported by the state governments.
Explaining the manner in which NCRB reports suicide cases, the ministry said the Bureau reports suicides by different categories of people profiled by their professions.
NCRB provides suicide data in the category called "persons self employed in farming/agriculture".
Under this category, the Bureau further provides suicide data for specific sub-categories: family problems, illness, drug abuse/addiction, unemployment, property dispute, professional/ career problems, love affairs, bareness/ impotency, dowry disputes, cancellation/ non-settlement of marriage, fall in social reputation and unknown causes.
The NCRB also gives percentage of suicides under each of these categories, it added.