Govt Doesn’t Have Data on Farmers’ Suicide Since 2016: Minister
Contrary to Ministry’s claims, a provisional report on farmer suicide for 2016 was submitted in March, 2018.
“The Centre does not possess data on farmer suicides that have taken place since 2016”, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh reportedly told the Parliament on Tuesday, 18 December.
However, contrary to Singh's claims, a provisional data on farmer's suicide show that approximately 11,300 farmers and farm labourers killed themselves in 2016, compared to the 12,602 cases of farmer's suicide in 2015, NDTV reported on Thursday, 20 December.
The provisional data of 2016 cited by NDTV, was presented by Singh’s own ministry in March, 2018, NDTV added.
Singh in a written reply on Tuesday had pointed out that the reports on suicides that are drawn by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) are available only till 2015 on its website.
“The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under the Ministry of Home Affairs compiles and disseminates information on suicides. These reports on suicides are available up to 2015 on its website. The reports for the year 2016 onwards have not been published yet.”Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh’s reply, as quoted by NDTV
The written reply was a response to Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi, who had earlier sought for information regarding the number of farmer suicides since 2016 and the steps taken or planned by the government to provide relief to the families of the deceased.
The data for the 2016 NCRB report is said to be under examination currently.
The data on suicides is reportedly drawn up by the NCRB based on information provided by state governments. The NCRB then releases a report titled 'Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India' for each year.
Responding to the delay in the report, a source told the news channel that the delay occurred as the ministry was “asked to make certain verifications” adding that it was also “asked to give comparative figures for the last decade.”
Sources in the crime records bureau also confirmed that the 11,000 figure for the year 2016 has been conveyed to the Agriculture Ministry, as per the media report.
According to the 2015 NCRB report, there were 8,000 farmer suicides, with the primary causes being debt and bankruptcy, reported NDTV. There were 4,500 cases of agricultural labourers committing suicide.
The Agriculture Minister's reply in Parliament comes in the context of increasing focus on rural distress in the national discourse, with farmers' groups having held several agitations in Delhi and Mumbai, and the opposition Congress attempting to corner the Modi government over the issue by announcing loan waivers.
(With inputs from NDTV)
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