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Rediff.com  » News » More housewives died by suicide in 2020 than farmers

More housewives died by suicide in 2020 than farmers

By SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF
Last updated on: November 18, 2021 12:03 IST
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Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf does a comparative analysis of suicide numbers released by the NCRB.

Data: Hemantkumar Shivsaran/Rediff.com

Kindly note the image has only been posted for representational purposes. Photograph: Pixabay.com

As dismal as it sounds, it has become a daily affair to read about farmer suicides.

That the continuously aggravating agrarian crisis is pushing more and more farmers to take their own lives is now a largely accepted fact.

Add to it the ongoing farmer movements and protests across the country and it would seem that most suicides in the country would be of people associated with farming.

However, suicide data released by the National Crime Records Bureau last week presents a very surprising picture.

The most number of suicides in India in the last seven years were of daily wage-earners, followed by housewives and business professionals.

 

Quite unsurprisingly, 2020 was annus horribilis as suicide rates rose by 10 per cent compared to 2019 across all sections of society.

2020 saw an all-time high figure of 153,052 suicides in India.

 

Profession-wise Distribution of Suicides during 2020 (All India)
Profession 2020 Total (2014-2020)
  Male  Female Transgender (Total) Male  Female Transgender (Total)
House wife 0 22372 2 22374 0 152125 2 152127
Professionals/Salaried Persons **
** Government Servants / Private Sector Enterprises and Public Sector Undertaking
12890 1935 0 14825 71357 10424 4 81785
Students 6967 5559 0 12526 36882 32521 2 69405
Unemployed Persons 12893 2754 5 15652 72545 14285 21 86851
Self-employed Persons **
Business and Other Self-employed Persons
15990 1340 2 17332 101420 10537 7 111964
Persons Engaged in Farming Sector **
** Farmers/Cultivators and Agricultural Labourers
9956 721 0 10677 71592 6710 1 78303
Daily Wage Earner 33164 4493 9 37666 170259 23509 27 193795
Retired Persons 1330 127 0 1457 7020 776 0 7796
Other Persons 15342 5197 4 20543 136746 46424 39 183209
Total 108532 44498 22 153052 667821 297311 103 965235

Whereas in 2019, the total number of suicides in India was 139,123. Which means 13,929 more people died by suicide in 2020, compared to 2019.

In other words, 38 more people died by suicide every day in 2020, compared to 2019. In 2019, the daily suicide count in India was 381, while in 2020, it was 419.

And the deceased came from different walks of life and different professions.

Profession-wise Distribution of Suicides during 2019 (All India)
Profession 2019
  Male Female Transgender (Total)
House wife 0 21359 0 21359
Professionals/Salaried Persons **
** Government Servants / Private Sector Enterprises and Public Sector Undertaking
11222 1503 0 12725
Students 5562 4772 1 10335
Unemployed Persons 11599 2416 4 14019
Self-employed Persons **
Business and Other Self-employed Persons
14319 1777 2 16098
Persons Engaged in Farming Sector **
** Farmers/Cultivators and Agricultural Labourers
9312 969 0 10281
Daily Wage Earner 29092 3467 4 32563
Retired Persons 1177 125 0 1302
Other Persons 15330 5105 6 20441
Total 97613 41493 17 139123

The worst affected were daily wage-earners, 103 of them died by suicide every day in 2020. The total number of daily wagers dying by suicide was 37,666.

One reason for this could be the Covid-induced lockdown and its aftereffects as many daily wage-earners lost their earning all of a sudden and even when the lockdown was lifted, employment opportunities remained bleak.

The devastation that the pandemic brought seems to have taken the biggest toll on the mental health of Indian housewives, as 22,374 of them died by suicide in 2020.

Which means 61 housewives lost the will to live and ended their lives every day.

The number of business professionals who died by suicide is also very significant and once again it can be blamed on Covid for the destruction of the economy.

As many as 17,332 business or self-employed professionals died by suicide in 2020, which means 47 deaths every day.

Compared to this, the number of farmers dying by suicide was 10,677, which means 29 deaths per day.

Now, if you take seven years of Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi's rule, then you will find that more business professionals died by suicide than farmers.

Incidence of suicides, growth of population and rate of suicide from 2014 to 2020

Year Total Numbers of Suicides Mid-Year Projected Population (in Lakh) Rate of Suicides
2014 1,31,666 12,440.4 10.6
2015 1,33,623 12,591.1 10.6
2016 1,31,008 12,739.9 10.3
2017 1,29,887 13,091.6 9.9
2018 1,34,516  13233.8 10.2
2019 1,39,123  13376.1 10.4
2020 1,53,052 13533.9 11.3
Total 9,52,875    

In the seven years between 2014 and 2020, as many as 111,964 business professionals died by suicide, compared to 78,303 farmers.

However, here too the worst hit were the daily wage-earners, as 193,795 of them died by suicide in the seven-year period.

Housewives was another category where there has been a steep increase in the number of suicides.

In the said seven-year period, 152, 127 housewives died by suicide.

With the economy now coming back on track and Covid-induced restrictions being lifted in most of the states, one can hope that we see a decline in these suicide figures in 2021.

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SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com
 
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