NCRB all-India figure 1995-2010: 2,56,913 farm suicides;
2010: 15,964 farmers’ suicides
First 8 years 1995-2002: 1,21, 157.
Second 8 years 2003-10: 1,35,756
Pawar, Agriculture Minister’s home state Maharashtra by far the worst in the country with 50,481 farm suicides between 1995-2010. That is, 1995-2002: 20,066 and for 2003-10: 30,415
Main points for us to push and use:
- · last 8 years was much worse at an annual average of 1832 higher than first 8 years.
- · It is disgraceful and decidedly odd that Pawar who fancies himself as an effective agri Minister and farmer never once referred to, quoted or discussed the recommendations of the National Farmers Commission (headed by DR. M.S. Swaminathan who is a member of the RS (Rajya Sabha – upper house). This was a government-appointed committee, and a very wide spectrum of opinion participated in its deliberations. It is now several years since the reports were submitted –
Neither the Government nor Pawar has taken note of this report. The Q that must be asked is “what gives” and WHY?
- · Until November 30, 2007, the GoI and the Agriculture Minister RIGHTL used NCRB data on farm suicides in their replies in Parliament.
However, the government and the minister abandoned using data from the NCRB which is in fact a division of the Union Home Ministry and the only authentic source of suicide figures nationally whether it be for farmers, students or anyone else.
- · As the figures grew worse, the government started suppressing NCRB data and instead using arbitrary figures from bureaucrats. Interestingly to this day, GoI uses NCRB data for the other categories, but not for farmers.
- · Using arbitrary state figures and estimates has led to GoI giving two very different estimates to the Rajya S in the same week ! : see How to be an eligible suicide: http://www.thehindu.com/
opinion/lead/article428367.ece) The Hindu, May 13, 2010. Unlike the states, NCRB has no vested interest in covering up the numbers.
- · “Why are the state government figures so much lower? Because they set up IMPOSSIBLE criteria to prove that a suicide is a farmer’s suicide and just be considered for compensation. For instance: In Andhra Pradesh, a family would have to get no less than 13 pieces of documentation approved at various level in order to establish this! These include five from the local police station, including a post-mortem report the family ends up paying for. And how the heck do they produce documents n private loans when those are on word-of-honour basis? Then there are pattas, bank papers, you name it. Maharashtra made it even more impossible, setting up committees that soon earned themselves the name ‘rejection committees’ which divided the deaths into ‘genuine suicides’ and ‘non-genuine suicides’. Note that in either case, the victim was just as dead. The dispute was over whether his or her death constituted a ‘genuine’ farm suicide driven by distress. In some months, not a single one in some districts would be accepted as a ‘genuine’ farm suicide” (Sainath).