Farmer Suicides in Gujarat – Facts

Background

Recently, Arvind Kejriwal (AAP) claimed that 5,874 farmers committed suicide in Gujarat in last 10 years. Whereas, the Gujarat government claims that only 1 farmer suicide in Gujarat was due to crop failure. The other suicides were not related to crop failures, and they were due other reasons such as family issues. The farmers do not show a greater tendency to commit suicide than the general population, particularly in Gujarat.  Let’s have a detailed look.

No. of farmers in Gujarat

There are 54.47 lakh cultivators and 68 lakh agricultural workers in Gujarat (2011 census). Hence,

Total no. As % of total population
Cultivators in Gujarat 5.447 million 9.0%
Cultivators + Agricultural laborers in Gujarat 5.447 + 6.8 million 20.3%

Farmer suicide statistics (as per Govt records)

NCRB classifies the suicides by employment categories. For Gujarat, the NCRB states that 564 people in the agricultural employment category committed suicide in 2012. 5,302 committed suicide during 2003-2012 (10-year period). 5,872 committed suicide during 2002-2012 (11-year period). Source: 1 2

Farmer suicides vs. non-farmer suicides

Source

 

State Farmer suicides as a % of total suicides
Maharashtra 23.50%
Andhra Pradesh 18.10%
Uttar Pradesh 16.80%
Karnataka 14.70%
Kerala 12.70%
Madhya Pradesh 12.00%
Assam 10.50%
Sikkim 10.50%
Haryana 9.80%
Jharkhand 9.00%
Bihar 9.00%
Arunachal Pradesh
Gujarat 7.90%

Conclusion

Despite being 9% of the total population of Gujarat, the farmers constitute only 7.9% of those who have committed suicide. This is assuming that NCRB has not counted farm laborers under the employment category “farming”. If that’s the case, the condition is even better: despite being 20% of the population, those involved in agriculture in Gujarat form only 7.9% of the people who committed suicide.

Thus, there is a good possibility that the Gujarat government’s claim is right.

Note: Some AAP supporters will try to use above data to claim that everyone, not just farmers, in Gujarat is committing suicide. For such people, here is a list of states/UTs with the highest suicide rates (suicide/population) in India (Source: NCRB)

 

State/UT Suicide rate (2012)
Puducherry 36.8
Sikkim 29.1
Tamil Nadu
Kerala 24.3
Andaman & Nicobar 23.6
Tripura 23
Chhattisgarh 22.9
Karnataka 21.2
Dadra & Nagar Haveli 17.6
Mizoram 17
Andhra Pradesh 16.6
West Bengal 16.5
Goa 15.8
Maharashtra 14
Madhya Pradesh 13.3
Daman & Diu 12.6
Odisha 12.2
Gujarat 11.8

This was posted on Reddit (could not find the exact link)

1 thought on “Farmer Suicides in Gujarat – Facts”

  1. @ Ashish – Congratulations on your first post on the blog. Do keep posting further.
    The issue raised by you is a very very sensitive and a close to my heart also. Our politicians needs to rise above ‘dirty politics’ and ‘party politics’ , and address this issue seriously. The problems faced by the Farmers needs to be understand and all possible help should be provided to them.
    As far as suicides in Maharashtra are concerned the people of the state should call back the Agriculture Minister and Mr.Sharad Pawar who has been in the politics and at the helm of the administrative affairs for so many years should feel shameful about Farmers committing suicide. It is time for him to work for social cause of this country leaving aside his personal power/benefit plans.

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