On Monday, 1 August, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Nishikant Dubey said in the Lok Sabha that no farmer has died by suicide in the last eight years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power.
Crediting the government and referring to the farmers' protest, he said that the "BJP has given power to the farmers to fight for their rights, unlike the Congress, which made them weak." The statement was made during a discussion on price rise in Parliament. (Video archive here)
However, Dubey's statement is in clear contradiction to the data compiled and provided on farmers' suicide by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). We looked at the data from 2014 (when PM Modi came to power) to 2020 (last available report), and found that there have been 43,181 farmer suicides in the period.
NCRB DATA ON FARMERS' SUICIDE
The data on suicides is compiled under the 'Accidental Deaths and & Suicides in India (ADSI)' report published by the NCRB, which comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
As Dubey said that there is been no discussion on farmer suicide in the last eight years because there has been no suicide, we looked at the data from 2014-2020.
As per NCRB data, in 2020, a total of 10,677 people involved in farming sector died by suicide. Of this, 5,579 were farmers/cultivators and 5,098 were agricultural labourers.
In 2019, the total suicides in the farming sector were 10,281 people. Of this, 5,957 were farmers/cultivators. In 2018, the data shows 5,763 farmers suicide down from 5,955 in 2017.
A total of 6,270 suicides were reported by the NCRB in 2016 and the number was at 8,007 in 2015. In 2014, 5,650 farmers had died by suicide.
As per the ADSI report, the major causes of farmers' suicide between 2014 and 2015 were bankruptcy or indebtedness, farming-related issues, among other reasons.
DATA PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN PARLIAMENT
The same data has been presented by the government in Parliament at various occasions.
On 8 February 2022, Minister of State (MoS) in the Ministry of Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra provided the same data in the Lok Sabha, in response to a question on number of farmers' suicide. He furnished the data from 2018-2020.
A detailed state-wise break-up – for the period from 2018 to 2020 – was provided by the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, in Parliament on 30 November 2021.
As per this data, Maharashtra is the state with the highest number of farmer suicides, followed by Karnataka.
We found several other answers discussing the issue of farmers' suicide – on just the website of Lok Sabha – contradictory to Dubey's claim that no discussion on the matter has happened.
WHAT ABOUT THE REPORTS ON FARMERS' SUICIDE?
Even if one didn't look up the data, a simple Google search on the matter will throw up several news reports that bring back the focus on the issue of farmers' suicide in India.
There were reports of farmers dying by suicide during the protest – either at the protest site or after returning to their villages – against the farm laws, which were repealed by the government after a yearlong protest.
So, to claim that no farmer has died by suicide in the last eight years is absolutely inaccurate.
We have reached out to Dubey for a comment on his statement and the story will be updated if and when we receive a reply.
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