NCRB Report 2020: Punjab Recorded 37% Farmer Suicides surge over last year - Monster Thinks

Saturday, September 5, 2020

NCRB Report 2020: Punjab Recorded 37% Farmer Suicides surge over last year

NCRB report: Punjab saw 7 suicides a day in 2019, recorded 37% surge over last year

NCRB Report on farmer suicide

Punjab witnessed an average of seven suicides a day in 2019, reveals the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report that was released on Monday.


The report, however, fell short of making a vocational classification of these deaths and attributes ‘illness’ as the single largest contributing reason behind the suicide cases reported in the state at 27.7%. A total of 2,357 suicide cases were reported in Punjab last year.

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The debt waiver scheme the Congress government launched has not helped the farmers in distress.

NCRB report on suicide

The report shares only national figures for farm suicides. Even the state-wise breakdown of the all-India numbers has not been released by the bureau.


Experts and rights associations claim that small and marginal farmers and farm labourers form a sizeable section of those taking their lives due to financial stress.


What makes them equally worried is that Punjab witnessed a surge of 37.5% per 1 lakh population in 2019 than the number of suicides reported in the previous year. The report says Punjab was the second state after Bihar (44.7%) that saw the highest spike in suicides in percentage terms over the last year. 

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Of the 1.39 lakh suicide cases reported in all states last year, 10,281 (7.4%) were associated with the farming sector. Of these, 5,957 were farmers/cultivators and 4,324 were agricultural labourers.


The NCRB report’s claim that ‘bankruptcy or indebtedness’ was behind only 4.2% suicide cases across the country has been contested by the farmer organizations.

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Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state chief of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU Ugrahan) raised finger at the figures of suicide cases in Punjab. “As per our estimate, about 3,000 farmers ended their lives in Punjab whereas the NCRB pegs the overall figure at less than 2,400. Projection of linking only 4% deaths to indebtedness reflects the dilution of facts,” he said.


Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary of another BKU the faction said even in the suicide cases attributed to ‘illness’ financial stress among farmers cannot be ruled out. 

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“It is only tweaking of figures as anyone taking life due to disease is actually facing non-availability of resources like healthcare facilities. For a small and marginal farmer, illness and family disputes are directly related to their inability to repay loans and an increased cost of living,” said Lakhowal.

Following the local waiver scheme announcement, small and marginal farmers stopped repaying loans. As the Amarinder Singh-led government did not implement the plan in letter and spirit, farmers are in a now more miserable situation as interests have spiralled

 Kesar Singh Bhangoo, a professor at the Centre for Research in Economic Change at Punjabi University who has done intensive research on farm suicides said the number of farmers who took the drastic step has been rising since 2011

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“There may be instances wherein families were reluctant to complete the legal formalities of deaths to claim the death as suicides. It is contrary to the ground reality that a sizeable number of farmers are taking extreme steps. Even the Punjab State Farmers & Farm Workers Commission has ended up as a government organ and failed to prepare any roadmap for the farming sector,” said Bhangoo. (HT Report)


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