Farmers’ suicide in MP

L S Herdenia

On an average, three farmers are committing suicide in Madhya Pradesh every day and the state has also the second highest deaths state wise in the country during pregnancy. With 625 deaths, MP is also fourth in student suicides I the country. What is worrying is that Madhya Pradesh records most suicides due to mental disorders - 1227 deaths. Apart, MP is second in the country for accidental deaths while Bhopal tops among megacities for crimes, rise in rapes and vehicle thefts.

The latest figures on accidental deaths and suicides in India, released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), state that Madhya Pradesh alone accounted for 1290 of 8007 suicides by farmers and agricultural labourers across India, one of the highest in the country.

The bulk of farmer suicides were committed by small farmers (289), followed by marginal (154) and medium farmers (134). Only four large farmers committed suicide.

The reasons for the suicides, according to the NCRB data, have been attributed to farming-related issues like crop failure, inability to sell their agricultural produce, inability to repay loans as well as other factors like poverty, property disputes, marriage-related issues, family problems and illness.

According to report, 709 agricultural labourers also committed suicide in the state in 2015. The reasons for their suicide includes poverty, property disputes, marriage-related issues, physical abuse, death of a loved one, family problems, illness, drug abuse and alcoholic addiction.

The issue of the farmer suicides had also rocked the winter session of the MP assembly held last month. During the session, the state government admitted that some farmers committed suicide in the state because of “frustration due to loan overburden” — perhaps the first time in recent years that the government admitted to the same.

According to the information submitted in the state assembly in July and December session last year, 1695 farmers and agricultural labourers committed suicide in the state in 2016 from February 1 to mid-November.

Overall between 2001 and 2015, there have been 18,687 suicides by farmers in MP, according to the state crime records bureau.

Mental disorders have turned out to be major killer in Madhya Pradesh with 1,227 people suffering from such illnesses committing suicide in Madhya Pradesh in 2015, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The figure puts state at the top of the ignominious list where it is followed by Maharashtra (990 cases) and Tamil Nadu (914 cases).

As per the NCRB, Madhya Pradesh witnessed a 128% hike in such deaths in 2015 compared to 2014 when 538 such suicides were reported.

What has come as another shocker is the fact that the state has less than 50 psychiatrists who can clinically treat mental disorders despite MP being home to around 40 lakh people who suffer from illnesses like insanity, depression and stress. A measly 0.05 psychiatrists are available per one lakh population in state, according to the National Mental Health Survey, 2015-16.

The survey also revealed that apart from private practitioners, the number of government medical officers at the state and district levels trained to deliver mental health services is only 0.1 per lakh population in Madhya Pradesh.

According to proposed norms, there should be one psychiatrist for every 100,000 people, three clinical psychologists for every 200,000 people, two psychiatric social workers for every 100,000 people, and one psychiatric nurse for every 10 psychiatric beds.

Figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2015 have revealed that Madhya Pradesh saw the fourth highest number of students committing suicide, with 625 such cases.

MP was only better off than Maharashtra (1230), Tamil Nadu (955) and West Bengal (676), with the state accounting for 7% of the total student suicides reported in the country. However, there has been a decrease of about 3% in such cases when compared to figures for 2014, with the number of dropping from 645.

According to medical experts, fear of failure in examinations, social pressures, anxiety, stress and depression are major reasons why students commit suicide. Failure in examination alone constitutes for 28% of the total student suicides in MP.

Psychiatrist Dr Satyakant Trivedi said imparting knowledge about mental health to students can help them recognise stress and depression.

With 40,629 accidental deaths reported, Madhya Pradesh accounts for nearly 9.8% of total such cases (4,13,457) reported in country in 2015, according to the data released by National Crime Records of Bureau. The figure puts it at second spot, behind Maharashtra (with 64,566 cases).

State capital Bhopal, however, recorded the highest rate of accidental deaths - 157.1 deaths per one lakh population - among the 53 megacities, as per the NCRB report.

Accidental deaths comprise both due to unnatural cause such as traffic accidents, electrocution, drowning or fire and natural cause such as lightening, heat stroke, cyclone and torrential rains.

The report also mentions that the rate of accidental deaths in MP was 52.7 per lakh placing it at the fourth position after Chhattisgarh (75.1), Puducherry (73.4) and Maharashtra (54.2). MP is followed by Haryana with a rate of 48.8 accidental deaths per lakh. The national average is 32.8 deaths per lakh population.

Madhya Pradesh also reported 113 deaths during pregnancy in 2015 - the second highest in the country, according to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report. Maharashtra topped the list with 633 cases. (IPA)  

Tuesday, 10 January, 2017