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FARMER suicides in the country spiked by over 40 per cent between 2014 and 2015. While 2014 saw 5,650 farmer suicides, the figure crossed 8,000 in 2015, government sources told The Indian Express.
Maharashtra, according to sources, continues to witness the highest number of farmer suicides. The state saw an 18 per cent jump between 2014 and 2015 — from 2,568 to 3,030. Telangana, which came in at second place in 2015, recorded over 1,350 farmer suicides, up from 898 in
But the state that registered the sharpest jump is Karnataka — from 321 in 2014 to more than 1,300 in 2015, the third-highest among all states.
Other states that saw more than 100 farmer suicides in 2015 are Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, sources said.
Some states, such as Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and some Northeastern states, did not witness any farmer suicides.
The country witnessed two straight years of severe drought in 2014 and 2015, with central Indian states the worst-hit. Official sources said the agrarian crisis was worsened due to deficient rain continuing in 2015 as farmers suffering from the previous drought could not recover.
In Maharashtra, the worst-affected state, Marathwada region faced drought in both years. In the first four months of 2016, according to government sources, the region recorded more than 400 farmer suicides. As reported by The Indian Express earlier, in 2015, the total number of suicides in all eight districts of Marathwada stood at 1,130 — roughly three suicides a day.
The dependence of farmers in Marathwada on water-guzzling cash crops such as sugarcane has been cited as one of the reasons for the distress, and both the state government and the Centre have urged farmers to switch to food crops.
In Karnataka, too, drought played havoc, with as many as 140 of 176 taluks in the state being declared drought-hit by the government in 2015. That, plus mounting debts and increased compensation to the next of kin of farmers who commit suicide have been cited as reasons for the spike in suicide rate in the state, sources said.
With a normal monsoon in 2016, the government hopes the number of farmer suicides would come down this year.