Why people, including farmers, commit suicide in India?

The issue of farmers' suicide has been jolting the country's conscience for years and for the first time the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has collected detailed data in this regard.

Last Updated: Jul 23, 2015, 14:40 PM IST

New Delhi: The issue of farmers' suicide has been jolting the country's conscience for years and for the first time the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has collected detailed data in this regard.

A total of 5,650 farmers committed suicide during 2014, accounting for 4.3 percent of total suicide victims in the country, the data of 2014 says.

‘Bankruptcy or indebtedness’ and ‘family problems’ are the major causes of suicides, accounting for 20.6 percent and 20.1 percent respectively of total farmers’ suicides during 2014. The other prominent causes of farmers’ suicides were ‘Failure of Crop’ (16.8%), ‘Illness’ (13.2%) and ‘Drug Abuse/Alcoholic Addiction’ (4.9%).

This is to be noted that `Family Problems` excluded `Marriage Related Issues`.

The state/UT and city-wise information suggests a total of 2,568 farmers’ suicides were reported in Maharashtra followed by 898 in Telangana and 826 in Madhya Pradesh, accounting for 45.5 percent, 15.9 percent and 14.6 percent respectively of total farmer suicides during 2014.

Chhattisgarh (443 suicides) and Karnataka (321 suicides) accounted for 7.8% and 5.7% respectively of the total farmer suicides reported in the country. These five states together accounted for 89.5 percent of the total farmers' suicides (5,056 out of 5,650)

reported in the country during 2014.

The NCRB data of 2014 suggests that the number of suicides in the country during

the decade 2004–2014 has recorded an increase of 15.8 percent (1,31,666 in 2014 from 1,13,697 in 2004). The rate of suicides has been, however, showing declining trend since 2010.

The highest incidents of 16,307 suicides were reported in Maharashtra followed by 16,122 suicides in Tamil Nadu and 14,310 suicides in West Bengal accounting for 12.4 percent, 12.2 percent and 10.9 percent respectively of total suicides.

Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state, has reported comparatively lower percentage share of suicidal deaths, accounting for only 2.7 percent of the total suicides reported in the country.

‘Other Family Problems’ and ‘Illness’ were the major causes of suicides among the specified causes, accounting for 21.7 percent and 18.0 percent respectively of total suicides. ‘Marriage Related Issues’ (5.1 percent), ‘Love Affairs’ (3.2 percent), ‘Drug Abuse/Addiction’ (2.8 percent), ‘Bankruptcy or Indebtedness’ and ‘Failure in Examination’ both accounted for 1.8 percent each, ‘Unemployment’ (1.7 percent), ‘Poverty’ (1.3 percent), ‘Property Dispute’ (0.8 percent), ‘Death of Dear Person’ (0.7 percent) were other causes of suicides.

The overall male:female ratio of suicide victims for the year 2014 was 67.7:32.3.

Youth (18 and above - below 30 years) and middle aged people (30 and above - below

45 years) were the prime groups taking recourse to the path of suicides.

Out of total 89,129 males suicides, maximum suicides were committed by self-employed (22,974), followed by daily wagers (13,944). A total of 42,521 females committed suicides during 2014 in the country. 20,148 females who committed suicides were housewives followed by students (3,807) and self-employed person (2,928).

It was observed that 65.9 percent of the suicide victims were married while 21.1 percent were unmarried.

The means adopted for committing suicide varied from the easily available means such as consumption of poison, jumping into the well etc to more painful means such as self-inflicted injuries, hanging, shooting, etc.