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Suicides among unemployed crossed 3,000 in 2020 Covid year: Govt in Rajya Sabha

According to the NCRB data, suicides among the unemployed have been increasing and touched the highest (3,548) in the pandemic year of 2020.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: February 10, 2022 11:48:47 am
The information was provided by Minister of State (Home) Nityanand Rai in a written reply to a question on the issue in Rajya Sabha. (File Photo: PTI/SANSAD TV)

THE FIRST pandemic year, 2020, saw the highest number of suicides among the unemployed in the recent past, with the toll crossing the 3,000-mark for the first time, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data.

Citing NCRB data, Minister of State (Home) Nityanand Rai said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that 3,548 people died by suicide due to unemployment in 2020.

The total number of suicides that year was 1.53 lakh, up from 1.39 lakh in 2019.

In his reply, Rai also said that between 2018 and 2020, 16,091 died by suicide due to bankruptcy or indebtedness – 4,970 in 2018; 5,908 in 2019; and 5,213 in 2020.

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According to NCRB data, the highest number of suicides due to unemployment in 2020 was reported from Karnataka (720), followed by Maharashtra (625), Tamil Nadu (336), Assam (234), and Uttar Pradesh (227).

In suicides due to bankruptcy or indebtedness, Maharashtra, which reports the highest number of farmer suicides each year, topped the list in 2020 with 1,341 deaths, followed by Karnataka (1,025), Telangana (947), Andhra Pradesh (782) and Tamil Nadu (524). Barring Tamil Nadu, the other states usually account for the most farmer suicides.

According to NCRB data, suicides due to unemployment has been increasing over the last few years – the toll was 2,851 in 2019; 2,741 in 2018; 2,404 in 2017; 2,298 in 2016; 2,723 in 2015; and 2,207 in 2014. The total number of suicides among the unemployed during the BJP-led government at the Centre (2014-2020) was 18,772, an average of 2,681 deaths per year.

In the last seven years of the UPA government, the number stood at 15,322 – 2,090 in 2013; 1,731 in 2012; 2,333 in 2011; 2,222 in 2010; 2,472 in 2009; 2,080 in 2008; and 2,394 in 2007 – at an average of 2,188 deaths per year.

In the ongoing Budget Session, the issue of unemployment has been raised multiple times by Opposition MPs, who have alleged that the Budget has not dealt with the issue. In his speech in Lok Sabha last week, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the country was facing the highest unemployment in the past 50 years.

Rai said the government was looking to address the issue by focusing on mental health and creating employment opportunities.

“To address the burden of mental disorders, the government is implementing the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) and is supporting implementation of the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) under NMHP in 692 districts of the country,” he said.

“The programme aims to provide suicide prevention services, workplace stress management, lifeskills training and counselling in schools and colleges; mental health services including prevention, promotion and long-term continuing care at different levels of district healthcare delivery system and promote community awareness and participation in the delivery of mental healthcare services,” he said.

Rai said the government had launched a number of programmes for employment and income generation through the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY), National Career Service (NCS) project for job seekers and employers for job-matching, Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana, Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana with substantial outlays.

“Flagship programmes of the government such as Make in India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat Mission, Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, housing for all, infrastructure development and industrial corridors have the potential to generate productive employment opportunities,” he said.

He said the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme in key sectors for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports would also generate employment opportunities.

Earlier this week, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor told Lok Sabha that “India’s unemployment rate has grown faster than Bangladesh and Vietnam”.

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First published on: 09-02-2022 at 03:06:46 pm
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