Most farmers who committed suicide in 2014 were from Maharashtra. Of the 5,650 farmers who ended their lives across India, 2,568 were from the state. Maharashtra is followed by Telangana, with 898 suicides, and Madhya Pradesh, with 826, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Of the total farmer suicides, 5,178 men and 472 women. Most who took the drastic step were between 30 and 60 years and many were driven by bankruptcy and family problems.
In 2013, more than 3,000 farmers in the state ended their lives, according to records, but people in the know claim the NCRB does not reflect ground realities. “The data is fabricated to show fewer deaths,” said Kishore Tiwari of the Vidharbha Jan Andolan Samiti, adding there were more than 4,000 suicides in the state. “Distress on the ground is higher than what NCRB figures show.”
“It is true farmer suicides were the highest in Maharashtra last year. Like the previous government, we have also adopted measures to prevent the suicides, but have not been able to succeed,” said Eknath Khadse, state minister for agriculture and revenue.
NCP leader Sunil Tatkare said, “It is an unfortunate situation, and the time has come to provide immediate relief to distressed farmers. Apart from waiving their loans, a long-term plan to deal with this crisis should be made.”
Tiwari, however, said the budget allocated by both the Centre and state government seemed too little to address the issue.
Breaking up the NCRB data shows ‘Bankruptcy or Indebtedness’ accounted for 1,163 suicides, ‘Family Problems’ caused 1,135 suicides, ‘Failure of Crop’ led to 952, ‘Illness’, 745 and ‘Drug Abuse/Alcoholic Addiction’, 250.
Age-wise, 59 farmers below 18 years killed themselves; 1,300 suicides were by those between 18 and 30 years and the maximum – 3,712 – were by farmers between 30 and 60 years. There were 579 suicides by farmers above 60 years.