India: Farmers Suicides Reach Record LevelsAbout 12,000 farmers killed themselves in the country in 2014.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) informed Sunday that 5,650 farmers had committed suicide in 2014 – corresponding to an average of 15 every hour. Yet, this figure would be largely underestimated according to various sources.
This information is coming at a bad time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the Indian Congress is about to open Tuesday a new parliamentary session that will debate the controversial bill reforming land acquisition. The reform aims at removing from a previous bill voted in 2013 a variety of safeguards preventing forcible acquisition.
The NCRB estimate, although it seems to have been divided in half since the previous year, did not use the same calculating methods. According to the Times of India, the government only took into account the landowners, instead of including all the rural workers.
If they are included, the estimate reaches about 12.360 suicides in the sector for the past year – corresponding to almost 600 more than the previous year, calculated the journal.
In the state of Maharashtra, the most agrarian of the country, the record of suicides skyrocketed – over 10.000 registered between 2012 and 2014, reported the Hindu. In this state, suicides do not only affect agriculture but all sectors, as 16.300 cases have been recorded in 2014 – 131.000 in the whole country.
The reform of the land acquisition bill removed in December various requirements like the social impact assessment study and a limitation on return of land to affected families.
The Congress will be debating it again from Tuesday because “the government has been unable to convert the ordinance into a statute,” reported Scroll.in, “given the enormous political and social backlash.”