Nearly 363 farmers have committed suicide so far in 2016 due to agrarian reasons and the Centre is taking steps to make farming a viable business to curb such instances in future, Parliament was informed on Friday.
The House was also informed that states take appropriate steps, with agriculture, including farm indebtedness, being a state subject. However, the Centre supplements their efforts through appropriate policy measures and budgetary support.
According to data placed by minister of state for agriculture Parshottam Rupala in the Rajya Sabha, 363 farmer suicides have been reported so far in 2016 due to agrarian reasons.
The minister made it clear that this data has been furnished by states and not by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). NCRB has published such data only till 2014.
Of the total number of farm suicides, a maximum of 241 have been reported in Karnataka, followed by Maharashtra (57) and Punjab (56), the data showed.
In 2015, the number of such cases stood at around 107 in Karnataka, 1,841 in Maharashtra and 46 in Punjab, while the overall figure for the entire country was 2,548, according to the data.
Replying to a query on steps taken by the Centre to rehabilitate families in which farmers have committed suicides, the minister said, “The strategy of the government is to focus on farmers’ welfare by making farming viable.”
Farm viability is possible when cost of cultivation is reduced, yield per unit of farm is increased and farmers get remunerative prices on their produce, he said.
The Centre has been implementing various schemes to meet this objective.