Focussing on the marginal farmer

While traditionally the blame is cast on the usurious local moneylender, NCRB data highlight that 2,474 of the 3,000 farmers who were reported to have committed suicide in 2015 had loans from local banks, while those who had loans from moneylenders were just 9.8 per cent of the total. Maharashtra reported 1,293 such suicides for indebtedness, while Karnataka had 946.

FEROZE VARUN GANDHI


THE HINDU

| JANUARY 19 2017

The sluice gate on the Bhakra main line canal in Khanauri-Kalan village in Sangrur district, Punjab, has become infamous. According to reports, it is a suicide point for farmers and their families. Typically, 30-45 corpses are found in the canal on average every month. Farmers’ suicide in Punjab is a major worry: over 2,632 farmers are reported to have committed suicide between 1995 and 2015,in the land famed for its Green Revolution, according to State government records. Mansa district alone accounts for 1,334 suicides. Adding farm labourers raises the total to 4,687 reported suicides. The reasons for this vary: cotton crop has been whittled by whiteflies, basmati’s market price has declined, the local moneylender has hiked up rates to 20 per cent. The farmer ekes his way to penury.

Farmer suicides are not a new trend. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 2,195 marginal farmers reportedly committed suicide in 2015 (of which 834 were in Maharashtra), while 3,618 “small farmers” undertook such drastic steps, with Maharashtra alone seeing 1,285. More curiously, a larger…THE HINDU