State of India’s environment: Why farmers kill themselves

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published Published on Feb 24, 2021   modified Modified on Feb 27, 2021

-Down to Earth

The back of the Indian farmour is against the wall amid rising costs of inputs, climate change-induced risks and faulty market mechanisms

More than 28 farmers and farm labourers die by suicide in India every day, according to the 2021 State of India’s Environment (SoE) report — an annual brought out by Down To Earth in association with Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The SoE report highlighted the suicide numbers in recent years:

* 5,957 farmers in 17 states (and Union territories) and 4,324 farm labourers in 24 states in 2019
* 5,763 farmers in 20 states and 4,586 agricultural workers in 21 states in 2018

The toll in increased between the two years in:

* Andhra Pradesh
* Assam
* Chhattisgarh
* Himachal Pradesh
* Maharashtra
* Mizoram
* Punjab
* Uttar Pradesh
* Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The report will be released in New Delhi February 25, 2021 at a webinar by more than 60 environmental thinkers and activists, journalists and academics from across India.  

The National Crime Records Bureau is silent on what leads to farmer suicides, pointed out DTE Managing Editor Richard Mahapatra. A 2016-17 government report had listed three probable causes: Frequent crop failures due to vagaries of monsoons, lack of assured water, and pest attacks and diseases. “The true reason behind these deaths is that agriculture has become a severely loss-making profession and calling. The market does not the pay our farmers their due price,” Mahapatra said.

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Down to Earth, 24 February, 2021,

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