India is an agrarian country with 70% of its population that depends directly or indirectly on agriculture. And yet today, India is going through an agrarian crisis. This phenomenon of farmer suicides that started from the 1990s. The number of farmer suicides has been increasing exponentially and this is the sad reality of our country even after 72 years of independence.
- More than 600 farmers have committed suicide between March and May 2018 in Maharashtra itself.
- According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 8,007 farmers committed suicide in 2015 as compared to 5,650 in 2014.
- On March 13, 2015, a shocking number of 135 farmers committed suicide in 58 days in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district.
- Maharashtra is by far the epicenter of these suicides with over 10,000 recorded between 2011 and 2013.
These are some painful but true facts showing what this country’s farmers are going through. Now, the more pressing concern here is the reason for this agrarian crisis.
Reasons for these suicides
There is not one but several reasons resulting in such high rates of farmer suicides in India. But the prime reasons for these suicides have been natural calamities like droughts and floods, high debts from money lenders and the most important one being crop failures.
All in all, the farmers of this country are going through some major money crisis that they are not even able to fetch two meals a day for themselves.
This entire phenomenon works in either of the two ways: Firstly, the less educated farmers buy cheap pesticides, which in long run end up harming their harvest. So, the farmers have to take loans to make their ends meet. Secondly, if the farmers are literate enough they buy some GM seeds. But the price of those seeds is so high that they end up taking loans from money lenders. Now, due to global warming i.e. less rainfall or some natural calamity, their crops get destroyed and leave them with no harvest and a huge debt on their head.
So, either way, they are in debts, which goes on increasing day by day. Until one day they end up losing their lands to the moneylenders or the bank. When they can’t take the pressure anymore and there’s no way out, they end up killing themselves.
What should be done?
Now, questions arise such as ‘What is the government supposed to do in case of a natural calamity?’ or ‘How is it the government’s fault that farmers are buying cheap fertilizers?’ and many more like these.
This is a huge problem and we don’t expect its solution to be simple. Therefore, the government definitely can’t solve the problem overnight but the least they can do is take some steps for it. And it’s not like the government is not doing anything for this issue but clearly, it’s not enough to solve this problem as barely any significant results are seen.
“ Working during these colds and heats, still not making the ends meet.
Drowning in this work with all my blood, sweat and tears
And yet these debts, cutting me deeper than shears.
No food, no money, no land to count on,
All alone I stand, with no desire to live on. “
– A farmers’ cry for help.