The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently released its latest Accidental Death and Suicide report for 2016, which stated that 11,379 farmers committed suicide in India in 2016.
The report says that there were 948 farmer suicides every month, or 31 suicides every day.
The last report was released in 2015. Compared to the previous report, Maharashtra recorded a dip of 20%, but it continued to top the list with 2,550 (almost 40%) of the 6,270 farmers’ suicides recorded nationwide. Maharashtra was followed by Karnataka, which recorded 1,212 farmers’ suicides out of the total number.
The data shows that while farmer suicides have dropped by about 21%, those by farm labourers have increased by 10%.
Three crucial things to be noticed here are:
- The NCRB did not release this report until the Maharashtra elections got over. The report showed that Maharashtra recorded the maximum number of farmers’ suicides in 2016.
- Unlike previous years’ reports, the NCRB report for 2016 did not mention the reasons for the said farmer suicides.
- In the 2015 report, farmers’ suicides were recorded under a separate category ‘ Suicides by Persons Involved in Farming Sector’, but in the 2016 report, farmers’ suicides have not been recorded separately but have been put under the category ‘Suicides by Profession’.
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In previous reports, the NCRB had included reasons behind the farmers’ suicides under categories such as illness, loans, crop failure, family problems, farm distress, etc.
“Not only were the old categories retained but more sub-categorisation had been done to further diversify the data this time. But it’s interesting to note that this data has not been published,” The Indian Express quoted a former NCRB official who was involved in the exercise as saying.
A similar pattern of withholding crucial information has been noticed in other reports of NCRB as well. In its latest report on crime, released on October 21, it did not publish data collected under the new sub-heads of killing ordered by khap panchayat, murder by influential people, death due to mob lynching and murder committed for religious reasons.