FARMERS SUICIDES IN INDIA

India is an agrarian country, with roughly 70% of the population relying on agriculture for a living, either directly or indirectly. India’s agriculture industry accounts for more than 15% of the country’s GDP. All of the country’s economic development will be feasible only if the farmer’s community is given top attention. Agriculture has long been practiced in India, and it is often referred to as the “backbone” of the country’s economy.

Farmers provide food for the country, but their working circumstances are not ideal. One of the worst tragedies to strike our country in recent decades has been the agrarian crisis. Farmer suicides are common in our nation for a variety of reasons. They have been compelled to take their life due to a variety of societal, economic, political, and personal issues.

As is well known, agriculture in India is referred to as a “monsoon gamble,” implying that it is overly reliant on nature and that once the monsoons fail, crops collapse. Even irrigation facilities are not well developed in India, and as a result, farmers are forced to take out large loans in order to cultivate crops, and many of them commit suicide as a result of their inability to repay the loans, which are primarily taken out from landlords and banks. Farmers also face too much familial pressure, and as a result, they fail to make ends meet and commit themselves as a result of their failure.

Compensation is enabled by the farmer’s family when a farmer commits suicide. Female farmers, on the other hand, are not rewarded when they commit suicide since they are not classified as “farmers.”

Despite a multi-pronged endeavor to increase farmers’ income and social security, over 12,000 suicides have been reported in the agriculture industry every year since 2013, according to the Central Government. In India, farmer suicides account for about ten percent of all suicides.

FACTS:

  1. Farmers, cultivators, and agricultural laborers are included on the list.
  2. Seven states account for 87.5 percent of all suicides in the country’s agricultural sector. The seven states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
  3. Farmers, both marginal and small, are committing suicide.
  4. Maharashtra is the state that has been hit the hardest.
  5. Punjab, which reaped the greatest benefits from the Green Revolution, also paints a bleak image of farmer suicides in India. Between 1995 and 2015, 4687 farmer suicides were reported in Punjab, with 1334 of them occurring in only one area, Mansa.

REASONS BEHIND FARMERS’ SUICIDES IN INDIA:

  1. The surge in input costs– The increase in input costs is due to a number of factors. The increased burden on farmers as a result of inflated agricultural input prices has been a major cause of farmer suicides in India. The conclusion of these elements is visible in the total increase in the cost of cultivation, which is now three times higher than it was in 2005 for wheat.
  2. Cost of chemicals and seeds– Fertilizers, crop protection chemicals, and even cultivation seeds have all become prohibitively expensive for already burdened farmers.
  3. Agricultural equipment expenses– Input costs are not confined to the most basic raw materials. Using agricultural machinery and equipment such as tractors, submersible pumps, and other such items adds to the already soaring prices. Furthermore, these supplementary inputs have become more expensive for small and marginal farmers.
  4. Labor costs– Similarly, hiring laborers and animals is becoming more expensive. While this may signify an improvement in laborers’ socio-economic condition as a result of MGNERGA and the increase in the minimum basic income, it has not done much to help the agriculture industry.
  5. Lack of awareness– Because they are unable to take advantage of the benefits of government policy due to the digital divide and literacy gap, marginal and small farmers are particularly vulnerable. This is shown in the persistence of unsustainable farming methods, such as sugarcane cultivation in water-scarce areas.
  6. Water issue– The concentration of these suicides in water-scarce areas of states like Maharashtra and Karnataka reflects how the water crisis, and hence failure to meet production demands, has exacerbated the threat. This is especially true given the persistent failure of the monsoons.

FARMERS’ SUICIDE STATISTICS: According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India’s 2012 annual report, 135,445 persons in India committed suicide, with 13,445 of them being farmers. Farmers account for 11.2 percent of all suicides in India.

THE WAY FORWARD:

  1. Pest-prevention policies based on integrated pest management— To avoid crop damage, an all-encompassing approach that incorporates biological, chemical, mechanical, and physical methodology should be applied. In this situation, taking a cue from Vietnam’s no-spray-before-bedtime ban could be a smart place to start
  2. Lower fertilizer costs– Assisting fertilizer manufacturers in reducing expenses by using internal funding rather than external borrowing should reduce input costs.
  3. Cooperative farming– Cooperative farming should be fostered among small and marginal farmers to ensure that they are not left in the dark while large farmers profit at their expense.

CONCLUSION: The Indian government must take steps to address this problem. The government must offer sufficient institutional financial support to farmers, as well as a good crop insurance program in the event of crop failure and genuine relief to the affected farmers because each farmer who commits suicide is a step backward for the country. As a result, we must rescue our farmers from this plight because they are the ones who feed us.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01612840.2019.1661048?journalCode=imhn20

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