Maharashtra saw 12,006 farmer suicides from 2015 to 2018
From 2010 to 2014, NCRB recorded 80,904 suicides in Maharashtra, of which 8,009 were farmers.
Maharashtra saw 12,006 farmer suicides between January 2015 and December 2018, the tenure of the current state government, according to the data compiled by the relief and rehabilitation department. While the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) states the total number of suicides in the state in 2015 was 16,970, the data for the entire four-year period is unavailable. From 2010 to 2014, NCRB recorded 80,904 suicides in the state, of which 8,009 were farmers.
The state reported 2,761 farmer suicides in 2018, compared to 2,917 in 2017. The number stood at 3,063 in 2016 and 3,263 in 2015. Although not satisfactory, the officials attributed the dip to loan waiver, which was announced in 2017, but implemented in 2018. “The numbers for 2018 and 2017 seem high, despite satisfactory rain in both these years, after three consecutive years of drought. In 2018, the state started to credit the waiver amount to the accounts of farmers. With more than Rs16,000 crore released, farmers should have got relief. Although 2017 saw a dip compared to 2016, it can’t be attributed to the loan waiver announced in June that year, as the entire year still saw at least 240 suicides a month,” said a senior official from the relief and rehabilitation department.
Farmer suicides are not linked to the party in power, claim experts. “The situation wouldn’t have changed even if any other party was at the helm. The agrarian policies of all governments have gone wrong. Farmers need to get cash subsidy, like the one given in Telangana. Farmers’ distress is owing to high input cost and low price for produce, despite high production,” said Vijay Jawandhia of Shetkari Sanghatana.
In 2018, the spate of farmer suicides continued in drought-prone backward districts of Vidarbha (1,297 cases in 11 districts) and Marathwada (947 cases in 8 districts). Of the 2,761 cases, 1,330 were eligible for ex gratia of ₹1 lakh, while 1,050 were held ineligible. The remaining cases are awaiting decision by the district administration. Ex gratia is granted only for reasons related to the agrarian crisis, including indebtedness. While 1,638 farmers were paid ex gratia in 2017, 987 claims were rejected in 2017.