New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday termed farmers` suicide as a serious issue, but said such cases were showing a decline.
The government is focusing on increasing investment in agriculture as well as raising minimum support price (MSP) of crops to increase farmers` income, Pawar told the Economic Editors conference here.
"It is true that this is a serious issue before us. However, the percentage of farmers` suicide is coming down," the minister said replying to a query on farmers’ suicide.
Pawar said there are various reasons for suicides such as loss of crop due to drought, disease and other factors.
"Increase in MSP and other steps will help improve the situation of farmers`. The government is focusing more on improving farm investment," he added.
In support of his comments on declining number of farmers` suicide, Pawar said in Maharashtra there were 1,035 cases of farmers’ suicide due to agrarian reason in 2006. It came down to 800 in 2008, 700 in 2007 and then rose to 740 in 2010 before coming down to 480 in 2011 in the state.
"So far this year, the number of farmers suicides cases (in Maharashtra) reported are 168," he added.
Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, the cases related to suicide by farmers stood at 757 in 2006, but declined to 196 in 2011, Pawar added.
According to the latest data presented by the government in Parliament during the recently concluded monsoon session, as many as 2,90,740 farmers committed suicide during 1995-2011 due to various reasons, including bankruptcy or sudden change in economic status and poverty.
The data has been quoted from the National Crime Records Bureau`s (NCRB) latest annual report on suicides, ADSI-2011 (Accidental Death and Suicides in India).
As many as 152 farmer suicides were reported till August 2012 as against 14,027 during the entire period of last calendar year, as per the latest government data.