Even as Himachal has high per capita income and it is claimed that it has effective schemes for the youth, the state recorded a 16.2% increase in suicide cases in 2014. As many as 644 persons, including 396 men and 248 women committed suicide in Himachal. Of these, 17.7% were unemployed youth.
In two years, the number of suicides in Himachal has rose to 200. In 2011, 443 suicides were reported. As per the latest report of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), the state stood fifth among the top five states where the suicide cases have recorded an increase over the past year.
Himachal, where agriculture is the main livelihood for many, 32 farmers' suicides were reported in 2014. Of these, 26 were committed due to agriculture-related issues including crop failure owing to natural calamities and other reasons.
Another fact the data reflects is that the income slab was below `1 lakh per annum in 483 suicide cases, while 160 persons including 46 females committed suicides - Their income was `1 lakh to `5 lakh.
Not only unemployed but also self-employed persons committed suicide in 2014. As many as 121 housewives and 70 salaried persons, including six women, committed suicide while 114 unemployed persons, including 22 females and 42 students, committed suicide in Himachal Pradesh in 2012.
While successive governments have been promoting agriculture as a major mode of self-employment, in 92 suicide cases, the deceased were self-employed. Those self-employed in the agriculture sector were 63 in number. These included 63 farm labourers and four women. Agriculture contributes over 15% to the state's gross domestic product.
In almost half of the cases, the deaths were a result of consuming poison. Among the total of 644 cases, in 312 cases including 116 pertaining to females, suicide was committed by consuming poison. Since it is a state largely dependent on agriculture, insecticides are available in a large number of households.
In Himachal, agriculture is losing its charm as most of the youth are allured to private jobs. Among those who died, 14 were small and 18 marginal farmers. Farmers have taken loan from banks for agricultural activity. Due to one reason or another, crop failure has become a major cause behind farmers ending their lives in the state, which produces a significant volume of fruits and vegetables.
Total suicide: 644
Due to love affair: 30
Drug abuse: 10
Exam failure: 6
Marriage relating issue: 86
--below 10th: 383
Graduate and above: 39
---Mode of death:
Hanging: 208 (Male-152, female-56)
Drowning: 25 (M-12, F3-13)
Poison: 312 (M-196, Fe-116)
2014: 644 suicides