ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Farmer Suicides in India

Trends across Major States, 1995–2011

In an effort to understand the trends of farmer suicides, this article uses data from the National Crime Records Bureau to estimate the suicide mortality rate of farmers and non-farmers for India and its states. The methodology used corrects for an error present in previous studies and alters some commonly held views about the level and trend of farmer suicides in India.

We would like to thank an anonymous referee of this journal for helpful comments on an earlier version of this note.

Between 1995 and 2014, more than 3,00,000 farmers—cultivators and agricultural labourers—have committed suicide in India. This is roughly equivalent to a staggering figure of one farmer suicide every 30 minutes. The phenomenon of suicide by farmers is especially worrisome for India because the majority of the workforce is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood. According to data from the latest census in 2011, about 55% of Indian workers were employed in agriculture, either as cultivators or as agricultural labourers.

Quantifying Farmer Suicides

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