RTI reply says only 20 farmer suicides were recorded in the year, lowest in past 15 years
Nagpur: In a kind of positive development, the Nagpur district recorded a decline in farmers’ suicides apparently due to Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. According to a RTI reply, the year 2020 recorded the lowest incidents of suicide by farmers in 15 years. This year, from January to October, Nagpur district has recorded 20 suicides by farmers, which is a marked decline since the year 2006.
The office of District Collector, in response to a RTI query posed by activist Abhay Kolarkar under Right to Information Act, has revealed that since the imposition of lockdown in the month of March, the number of farmers’ suicides has witnessed a significant decline. There have been 12 suicides by farmers from March to June. Since the process of unlock gained momentum in July, there has been no farmer suicide in district. That is, in four months from July to October this year, no farmer suicide has been registered in Nagpur district, as per the reply to Kolarkar’s application.
Of the total 20 suicides recorded in the district from January to October, however, the administration has found only two cases eligible for aid as per the Government norms. The administration has rejected three cases. Surprisingly, though there has been no suicide by farmers for four months from July, the administration has still kept 15 cases dating back to period between January to June ‘pending for enquiry’. Considering the administration’s data one can say that the farmers were busy with farming activities due to extended rainfall, as well as extended season of cotton procurement.
The RTI reply further said that in Nagpur district, many farmers got benefits of loan waiver scheme as per the administration’s own previous admission. These could be probable reasons for a welcome decline in farmers’ suicide in Nagpur district, since lockdown this year. Kolarkar had sought information regarding the number of farmers’ suicides in the district since the year 2001. As per the response he received from the district administration, there have been 813 such suicides between January 2002 and October 2020.
In 2001, no farmer suicide was reported in the district. Later on the number kept fluctuating over the years. As per the data made available to Kolarkar, Nagpur district registered the highest 82 farmers’ suicides in the year 2008, and the lowest four suicides in 2003. Of these cases, however, aid was extended in only 302 cases and the claim was rejected in 496 cases. In each case of farmer suicide, which passes the administrative scrutiny, financial aid of Rs 1 lakh is extended to the aggrieved family.
Year-wise number of farmers’ suicides reported in Nagpur distt:
In the year 2002, 5 cases were reported while 2003 saw 4 cases. Similarly, the number of farmer suicides registered in the years is as follows: 2004 – 21, 2005 – 15, 2006 –73, 2007 – 65, 2008 – 82, 2009 — 58, 2010 – 63, 2011 – 35, 2012 – 28, 2013 – 27, 2014 – 61, 2015 – 55, 2016 – 66, 2017 – 43, 2018 – 36, 2019 — 56 and 2020 (till October) 20.