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Prepared By:
Yashasvi Nain
II Year,


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“God gives us life to decorate it with knowledge. Life without knowledge is like river
without water.”

On completion of this Project it is our present privilege to acknowledge our profound gratitude
and indebtedness towards our teachers for their valuable suggestion and constructive criticism.
Their precious guidance and unrelenting support kept us on the right track through out the
project. We gratefully acknowledge our deepest sense of gratitude to our revered and intellectual
guide Ms. Jasleen Kewlani who has provided us important tips after the submission of first draft.

We heartly thankful of Ms. Updesh Kaur and other library staff for their able guidance and
support without which this project would not have been completed. We are also thankful to Mr.
Inderpreet and other computer staff who helped us in operating computer and providing access to

We would also like to thank for the painful and joint efforts of our group members, which helped
us in bringing out this project.

We are thankful to our family members and friends for the affection and encouragement with
which doing this project became a pleasure.

Last but not least we would like to thank the ALMIGHTY whose blessings helped us in making
this project come out successfully with flying colures.


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India lives in her villages. The main occupation of the villagers is agriculture. Our agriculture is
in a backward condition. It is a matter of great concern, not only for the teeming millions, but also
for the government. Agriculture is of supreme importance for the progress of the Country. For
last few years every other day we read the news of farmers committing suicides. The number of
farmers who have committed suicides since 1997 has crossed 1 lakhs. In this context the actual
problems being faced are to be understood and analyzed. Innovative remedies have to be thought
of which are to be implemented with sincerity by the Government and the implementing
agencies, alongwith putting in place ways to rehabilitate the affected farmers. An attempt has
been made in this project to address the issue of farmer’s plight leading to suicide and measures
to address the issue have been suggested.
It is essential to understand the social analysis of suicide as a social problem. In this situation the
significant work of Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist can't be forgotten. As per Durkheim's
view simply, 'suicide' means 'self destruction'. But it reveals something lots. At least after the
serial suicidal death of Vidarbha's farmers, it didn't remain confine to merely 'self destruction'-the
simple means of suicide.

If we go by Durkheim, suicide is a social fact and not simply an individual act but a product of
social forces external to the individual. In fact, He rejects the various extra social factors such as
heredity, climate, mental alienation, racial characteristics and imitation as the cause of suicide.
Even 'Poverty' - the most general cause of suicide, as presented by media and politicians behind
the every case of suicide, has been utterly rebutted by him. He, for simple understanding, argues
that the greater the integration of individuals within the social group the less likely they are to
commit suicide.

Apparently, one thing must be raised in our mind that why Durkheim negates poverty as one of
the causes of suicide. If we believe at least some amount on a survey report conducted by the
agency of the Govt. of India that reveals most developed states have more suicide rate as
compared to the most backward states. In 2001, Maharashtra (14618), Karnataka (11881), Tamil
Nadu (11290), Andhra Pradesh (10522) have highest suicide rates respectively. On the other hand
all tribal dominated states like Arunachal Pradesh (111), Manipur (41), Mizorum (54), Sikkim
(94), and the most backward states like Bihar (603) and Jharkand (250) have very less suicide
rate. The place Kalahandi in Orissa at one time was the center of attention in media only because

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of serial deaths of persons and children due to hungry and malnutrition respectively. But it is
quiet surprising that no suicide case was reported from Kalahandi at that time.


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1. INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………….6

2. SUICIDE THEORY ……………………………………………...8

3. HISTORY OF AGRICULTURE………………………………..11

4. STUDY OF THREE STATES ……………………………….....12

I. MAHARASHTRA ………………………………………..12

II. KARNATAKA …………………………………………..17

III. PUNJAB ……………………………………………….....21


6. REASONS OF SUICIDE …………………………………….….38

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7. PROGRESS IN LEGAL FIELD ………………………………..43

8. SUGGESTIONS ………………………………………………...45

9. CONCLUSION …………………………………………………..47

Chapter 1


India is an agricultural country; one third population depends on agriculture sector directly or
indirectly. Agriculture continues to be the mainstay of the Indian economy. Indian agriculture
contributes to the national Gross Domestic Product is about 25 per cent. With food being the
crowning need of the mankind, much emphasis has been on commercializing agricultural
production. Hence, adequate production and even distribution of food has lately become a high
priority global concern. With the changing agricultural scenario and global competition, there is a
need of exploiting the available resources at maximum level.

Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy. Agriculture in the form of settled cultivation in
India began in the prehistoric era in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Due to diversity of soil and climate,
our country is endowed with rich flora and fauna. India became one of the early centers for the
domestication of several important corps, including paddy. Agrarian distress in the Indian country
side is become a subject of great concern for the policy framers. The issue of suicides in rural
India has become a subject of great concern and is much debated both at the central as well as
State Government level. Andhra Pradesh, applauded for its reformist and hi-tech approach to
governance, has been termed as “agrarian distress”. The vagaries of nature have been associated

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with ups and downs in cultivation. In addition, disease and pests can affect crops. When the
production is good, a glut in the market can through low prices lead to poor returns from
cultivation. Increasing cost can also adversely affect returns. Spurious inputs could also leave the
farmers in quandary. There are multiple risks in agriculture- income, yield, price, input,
technology and credit among others.

In recent years, one observes an increasing incidence of farmers’ suicides. We all know that
suicide is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon, the risks are identified either in the
neurobiological or socio-economic domain. The former are predisposing in nature and are
internal to the individual whereas the latter are the precipitating ones and are external to the

The features of the current agrarian crisis are briefly discussed as follows. First, there has been a
decline in the trend growth rate of production as well as productivity for almost all crops from the
mid-nineties. Further the value of output from agriculture has been declining from late nineties.
Second, there is an excessive dependence of a large section of the population on agriculture (in
2004-05 nearly 64 percent of the rural persons were from households whose members major
activity status was either self-employed in limited)i. Thirdly, with the increase in family disputes
which results in declining size-class of holding and an increasing preponderance of marginal
holding along with poor returns from cultivation indicates that income for farm households is
very low. Fourthly, the much talked about green revolution had a greater focus on rice and wheat
under irrigated condition bypassing crops and regions under rain fed or dry land conditions. There
has been a failure to capitalize on the vast network of institutes to provide and regulate new
technology, including the usage of biotechnology, and a virtual absence of extension service.
Fifth, the neglect of agriculture in the plan resource allocation has led to decline of public
investments in irrigation and other related infrastructure. Sixth, supply of credits from formal
sources to the agriculture sector is inadequate leading to greater reliance on informal sources at
higher interest burden. Last but not least, with changing technology and market conditions the
farmers is increasingly being exposed to the uncertainties of the product as well as factor market.

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Chapter 2


Durkheim's theory of suicide, and revisions suggested by the later theorists, focused
predominantly on the involvement of the individual with society. Sociological approaches have
stressed that different types of suicide are the result of different social circumstances. Durkheim
pointed three primary types: egoistic, altruistic, and anomic. This typology, which differentiates
between causes of suicide produced by circumstances of integration and regulation within society
and its major institutions, remains prominent today.

Egoistic suicide occurs when individuals lack adequate integration into or involvement with
society. Persons not involved in society and its institutions are not constricted by its rules,
including those that regulate and often prohibit suicide. Instead they are regulated only by their
own rules of conduct and act in terms of their own private interests. But, altruistic suicide results
from excessive integration into society and insufficient individuation. The behavior of the
individual is almost completely determined by the social group. Such an individual may commit
suicide as a sacrifice to benefit the collective good or for the good of the large section of society.
The third major type was called anomic suicide. Anomie, or a sense of alienation, is produced by
a lack of societal regulation on an individual and therefore a lack of normative (socially
conforming) behavior. Under usual circumstances, societal regulation provides a sense of
equilibrium and limits. When changes are usually of an abrupt nature occur in the situation of an
individual or culture, equilibrium is disrupted and a state of deregulation exists. Under such

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circumstances the anomic individual is left without clear norms to guide behavior. Suicide is one
possible result in this situationii.

Psychological and Biological Explanations:

Early psychological theories, and especially those of Sigmund Freud, contended that individual,
internal psychological forces, rather than social forces, could lead to depression and suicide.
According to Freud an essential aspect of understanding suicide was to view it as part of an
instinctual human tendency toward aggression and destruction. He regarded suicide as one
manifestation of his theorized "death instinct," called thanatos, as opposed to the powerful "life
instinct," erosiii. In suicides the death instinct somehow manages to overcome the life instinct.
Freud's second, considerably more complex explanation is based on the notion that an individual
who commits suicide feels aggression and anger over the loss of love objects but turns these
feelings inward on himself or herself. In recent decades, psychological theories of suicide are
prevalent and many of them continue to highlight the role of depressive disorders that produce
suicidal thoughts and actions. For example, American psychologist Edwin Shneidman has
theorized that suicidal persons share a number of attributes. Prominent among these are thwarted
or blocked psychological needs and the perception that circumstances and problems are
unsolvable and that nothing done will be helpful. That is, such persons experience a sense of
hopelessness and helplessness. As a result of constriction in their cognitive abilities, suicidal
individuals also typically fail to see alternative ways to cope with their circumstances. They are
ambivalent about suicide, however, wanting to die but at the same time wanting to live. Finally,
and most importantly, Shneidman theorizes that there exists in any suicide an unbearable
psychological pain from which the person desires to escape. He refers to this intolerable pain as
"psychache" and contends that it is the cause of individual suicide actsiv. Suicide is prevented
when this pain, or the factors that lead to it, is reduced to tolerable levels.

Adding to these explanations of suicide, more recent research findings suggest that biological
factors possibly play contributing roles, particularly in the production of depression and
subsequent suicide. These findings have implicated biochemical substances that may be involved
in producing depression and ultimately suicide. Farmers are also affected by such psychological
pressure as a result they cannot bear that pressure and commit suicide.

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Durkheim reasoned that suicide occurs in all societies but the suicide rate for various groups are
often both different than other groups within the same society and stable over time. These
differences and stability in group rates indicated that there was something other than psychology
involved in the decision to commit suicide. It is simply impossible, Durkheim insisted, to explain
or interpret the characteristics and behaviors of human groups on a psychological or biological
basis. Much of whom and what we are, of how we behave and what we believe, are due to social

As per Durkheim, Suicide can be categorized into its three sub types namely:
Egoistic suicide resulted from very less integration of individuals and the society in which they
live. Those individuals who were not sufficiently bound to social groups (and therefore well-
defined values, traditions, norms, and goals) were left with little social support or guidance, and
thus tended to commit suicide on an increased basis. An example Durkheim discovered was that
of unmarried people, particularly males, who, with less to bind and connect them to stable social
norms and goals, committed suicide at higher rates than married people.

Altruistic suicide was a result of too much integration between the society and individuals. It
occurred at the opposite end of the integration scale as egoistic suicide. Self sacrifice was the
defining trait, where individuals were so integrated into social groups that they lost sight of their
individuality and became willing to sacrifice themselves to the group's interests, even if that
sacrifice was their own life. The most common cases of altruistic suicide occurred among
members of the military.

Anomic suicide is a result of a complete breakdown of a system/regulated environment rather like

the literal meaning of the word Anomie that is lack of regulation coupled with a breakdown of
norms. Durkheim defined the term anomie as a condition where social and/or moral norms are
confused, unclear, or simply not present. Durkheim felt that this lack of norms--or pre-accepted
limits on behavior in a society--led to deviant suicidal behavior.

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Chapter 3


Agriculture was almost always supported by the Indian ruling class. The priestly class was
strongly patron of agriculture too and it argued the prosperous agriculture was the base of
empires. Taxes on farmers, which rarely exceeds one-sixth of the production, were always kept
low. Ancient literature and mythology is replete with allusions to the encouragement to
agriculture and trade. Archeological findings reveal that both wheat and rice were grown as
domesticated crops along the Ganga in the sixth millennium BC. However several species of
winter cereals such as barley, oats and legumes or lentils, and chickpeas, domesticated in south
west Asia, were grown in northwest India even before the sixth millennium BC. Some millet such
as sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet, which were domesticated in southwest Asia, came to
India more than 4,000 years agov.

In the Ramayana, Rama asks his brother Bharata, “Dear Bahrat, have you ensured that all
those engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry receive your special care and attention?” In
Mahabharata, patriarch man, Bhishma, advises King Yudhishtra in “Shantiparva”,
“Agriculture, animal husbandry and trade are the very life of the people. Have you ensured
that the cultivators are not forced to deserting the country because of the exaction imposed by
you? It is indeed the cultivators who carry the burden of the king on their shoulders and also
provide sustenance to all others.” The Arthashastra also mentions a “superintendent of cattle”
whose duty was to supervise livestock, keep a census and monitor the situation so that cattle

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were reared properly. The Arthashastra gives an elaborate description of the amount of food a
bull, a cow, or a buffalo should be supplied with. Maintaining pastures and open land around
the village was encouraged. These incidents show the importance of agriculture in ancient
tomes also. At present also India is considered as agrarian country and agriculture is the base
of our economy.

Chapter 4



There is an old saying in Marathi:

“Ithe shetkari karztach janmato aani karzatach maran paavto”

Which means:
"Farmer takes the birth in debt and dies in the same condition". This was the position of farmers
before independence and it still continue after 60 years of independence. If we analyze the
suicides by farmers in Maharashtra it is revealed that it is higher in Vidarbha region of the State
where farmers preferred cultivation of "white gold" i.e. cotton. But this is now a risky venture as
they suffered due to non-availability of quality seeds coupled with the farmers or incapacity to
buy costly Bt. cotton seeds. They could also not get remunerative price for their produce.
According to Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, although 60% people in India depend on agriculture and
Agriculture Sector contributes 25% of National Income over the period investment and
production in agriculture has declined. In developed world the percentage of dependence of
population on agriculture is much less e.g. in USA it is only 2% and income from agriculture is
just 4%. The Union home ministry’s website displays the data of farmers’ suicides in 2007 and a
close look into the available version indicates that Maharashtra tops the entire country with
regard to the suicide of distressed farmers.

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According to the website, 16,632 farmers ended their lives in 2007 and
Maharashtra had the highest figure of 4,238 of whom 1,520 are reported from
Vidarbha region alonevi.

Nearly 29,000 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra between 1997 and 2005, official data
show. No other State comes close to that total. This means that of the roughly 1.5 lakh farmers
who killed themselves across the country in that period, almost every fifth one was from
Maharashtra — which saw a 105 per cent increase in farm suicides in those nine years. More than
19,000 of those farmer suicides occurred from 2001 onwards.

These dismal findings emerge from a major study of official data on farm suicides by K. Nagaraj
of the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS)vii.

Acting on a public interest petition filed by the All India Biodynamic and Organic Farming
Association, in December 2004, the Bombay High Court requested the TISSviii to submit a report
on possible causes for the suicides.

A team from the TISS’s rural campus in Tuljapur, Osmanabad district, spent eight weeks in 12
districts in the three regions of the state reported to have witnessed the largest number of suicides
in early 2005. It investigated 36 of the 644 cases of suicide, studying their causes and the reasons
for the desperate state of farmers. The TISS submitted its findings to the high court in March

Key findings of the TISS survey are as follows:

1. The suicides are not restricted to income level or landholding category. They occurred both
among large landholding owners and the landless and across all caste groups.
1. The causes, however, are common - repeated crop failure, inability to meet the rising cost
of cultivation, and indebtedness. In all cases, this extreme step was taken only after all
avenues were exhausted.
2. Understanding the profile of the victims in their social and economic contexts can help
gauge the depth and spread of the tragic phenomenon, says the report. Fifty per cent of the
total sample constituted small landholders who owned up to five acres, 43% medium
landholders who owned between five and 15 acres, and 5% large landholders who owned

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more than 15 acres. The remaining 2% did not own land. “The overwhelming numbers are
reflected in the small and medium-sized holdings across caste groups. This is suggestive
of a problem that is widespread, cutting across caste and class barriers,” says the report.
3. Of the sample, 89% were married. This indicates the pressure to provide for a household.
A startling 81% were literate, primarily because most of the people who committed
suicide were men.
4. Seventy per cent of the total number of suicide victims grew cotton as their primary cash
crop. The cost of cotton cultivation is between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,000 an acre. Another
5% took up horticulture as the major occupation, while the remaining 20% cultivated tur,
urad, soybean, jowar, vegetables and sugarcane. Once again, the data suggests that
cultivators of all sorts of crops are affected.

Suicide is a social phenomenon that differs across gender groups and it is appropriate to discuss
about patterns in males and females separately. The trends in age-adjusted Suicide Mortality Rate
(SMR) in Maharashtra from 1995 to 2004 are given in Table below. Age adjusted SMR for males
increased from 17.4 in 1995 to 20.3 in 2004 and that for females decreased from 13.6 in 1995 to
10.8 in 2004. Absolute numbers of male suicides decreased in 1996, but thereafter it has been
increasing for the whole period. For females, absolute number of suicides decreased in 1996 and
then increased in the next two years, but has been declining since 1999. Age-adjusted SMR for
males has not always been increasing indicating that the increase in number of suicides has to be
correct .There is likely to be underreporting of suicide deaths to police because of legal hassles
and shame identified with the act. In fact, between 2001 and 2004 age-adjusted SMR for males
has been in the range of 20-21ix. Decline in absolute female suicides when population has been
increasing explains the declining age-adjusted SMR for females.

Number of Suicides and Age-Adjusted Suicide Mortality Rates in Maharashtra,


Year Number of Suicides Age Adjusted (5+) (Male/

female) SMR
Suicide Mortality Rate Ratio

Males Females Males Females

1995 6882 4984 17.4 13.6 1.28

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1996 6489 4727 16.1 12.6 1.27

1997 7333 5303 17.7 13.8 1.28

1998 8014 5644 18.9 14.4 1.31

1999 8021 5573 18.5 13.9 1.33

2000 8706 5299 19.6 12.9 1.52

2001 9338 5280 20.6 12.6 1.63

2002 9447 5082 20.3 11.9 1.71

2003 9810 4950 20.6 11.3 1.83

2004 9903 4826 20.3 10.8 1.89

Note: Suicide Mortality Rate indicated suicide deaths per 100000 populations. Year wise population for each sub-
group was interpolated/extrapolated and adjusted to give estimates that are sub group consistent. Age-adjusted
Suicide Mortality Rate excludes age group of 0-4 years, as suicide is not defined for this population. For age
unadjusted SMR see Table 3.1a in Annexure 5. For district/division wise trends, age-specific, education wise,
marital status wise, cause wise, method wise and profession wise data see Tables 3.1b-3.1i in Annexure 5.

Source: Census of India, 1991 and 2001; Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and
1999, National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Various Years;
Communication from Additional Director General of Police, Crime Investigation Department, Maharashtra State,
Pune, through their letter number CID/STATS/Suicides/4377/2005 dated 12 July 2005; and
(accessed 5 October 2005).

The male/female Suicide Mortality Rate ratio in Maharashtra has decreased from 1.28 in 1995 to
1.27 in 1996 but thereafter it has been increasing and the ratio was 1.89 in 2004. At the all India
level it has decreased from 1.32 in 1995 to 1.29 in 1996 but thereafter it has increased and the
ratio was 1.47 in 2001. The all India male/female SMR ratio was higher than that for Maharashtra
till 1999, but thereafter in 2000 and 2001 the ratio has been higher in Maharashtra. This trend
might have continued, but as we have all India suicide data by sex only till 2001 we do not want
to speculate on the possibilities. However, the male/female SMR ratio in Maharashtra as well as
that of India is much lower than the global scenario of 3.3 in 1998 (male SMR of 26.9 and female
SMR of 8.2)x.

Male farmers with large female numerous and fewer agriculture assets like a pair of bullocks,
were most likely to commit suicide in the face of a price shock or crop failure. It was calculated

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that a farmer with 15 acres of land of land would earn a net income of 32500. A class 4 th
employee of the Government, the lowest ranking civil servant, is better off since he earns more
then double that amount plus untaxed perks like cheap housing and pension benefit. The
uncertainty contributed by price fluctuation, failed rainfall and unscrupulous suppliers of spurious
seed, fertilizers and pesticides, make the picture grimmer. In the absence of non agricultural
sources income and saddled with large family, under stress for meeting social obligation, some of
the farmers fell victim to suicidexi.


• The State could restore the 'advance bonus' of Rs.500 a quintal. On 210 lakh quintals (taking
the previous year's output as the base), the cutting of the bonus implies a loss of Rs.1050
crore to farmers - every year. That's why the suicides shot up after its withdrawal. Alongside
this, the State could ensure fresh crop loans for every farmer this new season. The kind of
emergency Vidarbha is in the loans should carry minimal interest. For non-irrigated farmers,
they should be interest free (China, as Dr. M.S. Swaminathan has pointed out, has a zero per
cent interest rate for farmers.) The crop loans must be based on the new costs of production
per acre and not on outdated prices. Getting this issue wrong will push many lakhs of people
deeper into the grip of moneylenders. It's heresy of course, in this era, to suggest writing off
farmers' loans of up to Rs.25000. (Most of these were smaller sums that have bloated with
interest.) You could modulate the measure according to the acreage held by the farmer. And
one can endlessly debate the wisdom of such a step. The truth though is simple. Whether
you write them off or not, people cannot pay.

• It also makes sound sense to give incentives to those who grow food crops. Jowar once held
30 per cent of acreage in this region. Today, that's 5 per cent. This has not only meant loss
of a vital food crop, but also a severe scarcity of fodder. An incentive of Rs.1000 per acre
for jowar cultivation would have many benefits. It would give poor farmers sustenance. It
would revive a crucial crop of a region. And it would allow real space for animal husbandry
with fodder making a comeback.

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• The State could also ask the Centre to impose a 60 per cent duty on cotton imports. (Equal
to that on sugar, Maharashtra's other major crop.) This is needed as western subsidies on
cotton have gone over the top. The United States last year gave its 20,000 growers a subsidy
of $4 billion. The damage that has done to world cotton prices allows for extra cheap
imports that crush cotton growers here.

• There's a big need to strengthen the rural employment guarantee programme. There is a
huge demand for it where people learn of it. Landless labourers, hit by the fall in farming,
are in the worst of shape. One can also see landed farmers with six acres in the queues for
work. So great is the pressure. So one can imagine the plight of the landless.

• The Government should move fast to curb medical expenses and health debt. This is a
rapidly growing component of family debt here. Lots of farmers have mortgaged acres of
land to pay their costly private hospital bills. It would make a difference if the State were to
set up more public medical centres and bring in more doctors for these. Also, private
hospitals must be made to lower their charges.

• Education is one of the badly hit sectors here. It is within the State's power to declare a fees
waiver for the children of farm families unable to pay school fees and thus dropping out.
Rural children should also not be required to pay for bus tickets when journeying to school.
At higher levels, many children who have got into professional institutions are now unable
to now meet the costs. Their parents are bankrupt. Here too, the State could step in to help
ease the burden.

• Both Centre and State could get their act together and set up a Price Stabilisation Fund. And
link the minimum support price to the wholesale price index. The National Commission for
Farmers has already asked for this. Price volatility has been one of the things that have hit
farmers hardest. Getting shock absorbers in place to ensure them a decent price would make
things a lot better.

Characteristics of Karnataka agriculture have changed over the past couple of years; it
changed from non-capitalist path to agrarian capitalist path. Karnataka agriculture needs to be
located within the larger framework of uneven capitalist development. Although we can see

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that some sort of capitalist development was introduced long back during the colonial period
but agrarian capitalism received a boost with the introduction of Green Revolution in late 60s,
implementation of land reforms and establishment of institutions such as cooperatives
measures during the post-independence period. Most important thing is that, this path of
development also allowed large number of new categories to emerge and enter into the larger
domain of agrarian capitalism. The change can be seen in the increasing use of New
Technology-seed or fertilizer, fragmentation of lands, increase in the landlessness or laboring
class, linkage of local with the national/international market, depeasantisation of categories etc.
However the beginning of agrarian crisis once again required to be located during the decade
of 1980s when issues of terms of trade going against the agriculture were taken up. They are
also manifested in such issues as unremunerative prices, urban biased policy, declaring
agriculture as an industry, writing off loans, etc. The crisis also manifested in the form of
farmers taking out long marches, bundhs, rallies under the banner of farmers’ movement.
During all these years we can notice that, no farmer committed suicide neither farmers’
movement advocated such a tactics. However this crisis continued to transgress the gender,
caste, class etc.
One important issue is the way the World Bank could able to dictate the terms to the Karnataka
government. The World Bank dictated terms have gone against the interest of the farmers.
This is apparent when Karnataka government for example, went for World Bank loan, which
granted Economic Restructuring loan in 2001. This loan came along with a condition that
government should withdraw from the power sector as regulator and distributor of power. This
led to the bifurcation of the Electricity Board and the subsequent creation of Corporation on
the one hand, partial withdrawal of subsidy given to the farmers or to the agriculture-in the
latter case the free power given to the agriculture was withdrawn and also the fact that it
increased the power tariff drastically.
This results in the failure of the cooperative sector in Karnataka, which could have helped the
farmers in overcoming the debts, which is the major issue of suicide among the farmers.
In one side the Karnataka government could not able to checkmate the growth of money
lenders on the one hand, at the same time it failed to make the cooperative movement a
success one. In Karnataka although there are 32,382 Cooperative Societies at the village level,
but almost 40 cent of them are running under loss, nearly twenty cent of them are either

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defunct or liquidated. This failure has helped in trapping the farmers in vicious circle of
exploitation by the moneylenders. Secondly the agrarian crisis also accentuated with the
growing introduction of new technology in agriculture. The Karnataka government is one of
the first governments to allow the field trials of Bt.Cotton. In fact the attack on Monsanto by
the farmers twice in Karnataka is but the reaction to the growing corporatization of agriculture
on the one hand, the larger consequences of new technology on the other. Its seeds in many
places completely ruined the agricultural production- as they became spurious as well as the
fact that the claim of surplus production was never realized- in the process the farmers’ lost
Agrarian crisis was further increased with the severe draught in different parts of the state. In
2002 alone 143 talukas, which went up to 159 in the subsequent year, out of 176 talukas in the
state, were declared as drought areas. Earlier 67 talukas in Karnataka faced “acute” drought,
and 60 “moderate” drought”. In total 29,193 villages faced drought. Out of which 4499
villages come under the category of “acute drought” and 2712 under “moderate drought.” In
some districts the drought was the reaction or the consequence of political inactivity. This is
apparent in the canal areas, where the tail Enders would be the one highly affected. For
example in the case of Mandya district, the absence of judicious distribution of water for the
tail ender ultimately ended up in a situation of drought and, consequently couple of farmers’
committed suicide due to “man made drought”. Drought brought down land under sowing –
for example during 2003 out of 69 lakh hectares coming under sowing during Khariff only
16.84 lakh hectares were sown. The tapping of large-scale underground water further
aggravated this drought.
Relief by Government:
This is not like that government is not at all concern with the pathetic condition of farmers.
Government came out with series of concessions or relief’s such as exemption of interest on
the loans (amounting to Rs.127 crores in 2002) exemption of 66 drought affected taluks from
land revenue, food for work programme, supply of fodder, and the drought issue remains

Farmers’ Suicide between 1 April 2003 and 1 January 2007 in Karnataka

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District 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 Total (4 yrs)
(As on Jan. 2007)

Bagalkote 24 06 03 04 37
Bangalore Rural 30 06 05 01 42
Bangalore Urban - 02 00 00 02
Bidar 32 07 06 11 56
Hassan 69 37 13 07 126
Chamraj Nagar 10 02 00 - 12
Haveri 38 09 02 04 53
Uttara Kannada 07 00 06 04 17
Dharwad 31 09 00 - 40
Koppal 20 15 10 14 59
Mandya 46 11 00 - 57
Chickmagalur 24 10 03 18 55
Raichur 05 03 01 04 13
Tumkur 41 11 06 16 74
Shimoga 50 12 04 11 77
Kolar 18 10 03 02 33
Mysore 18 01 00 - 19
Udupi 03 01 00 - 04
Kodagu 12 12 12 10 46
Belgaum 41 33 10 22 116
Davanagere 39 12 05 11 67
Bellary 31 11 05 02 47
Chitradurga 55 19 08 17 99
Gulbarga 18 06 07 03 34
Bijapur 22 09 09 13 53
D.K 09 05 04 03 21
Gadag 13 02 01 10 26
Total 708 171 124 187 1193

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Source: Statistics from the official website Department of Agriculture.

In fact acuteness of agrarian crisis is apparent in the year 2003, as it was a year when
Karnataka experienced sever drought in more than thirteen districts. In fact, the state could
have easily checkmated the drought.
For improving agricultural condition in Karnataka some suggestions are given below which
are useful controlling such suicide among the farmers.

• In the next five years, programmes will be prepared to meet the agricultural growth
objective, keeping in view the sustainable management of natural resources and
• Representatives of the Agricultural Research Station and Krishi Vigyan Kendra are
helping the task force here in preparing strategies incorporating various aspects that
will go a long way in boosting the growth of the agriculture sector in the district.
• There is need to stress on implementation of workable strategy for water management
in rain fed areas and also adopting the watershed approach in drought prone and water
and areas. The arrangement and effective equitable utilization of our shared water
resources is the key element in improving agricultural performance.
• There is a need that agriculture Policy in future envisages a move from the traditional
grain based strategy followed in the past towards diversification, emphasizing
horticulture, poultry and live stock. This transition poses new challenges including new
institutional arrangements. In addition to having more efficient markets and improved
delivery channels from farmers to consumers, the policy has underlined the importance
of the concerted efforts to increase value addition to agricultural produce.

Suicides by cultivators and agricultural labourers have been reported in Punjab since the mid
1980s. A combination of economic factors such as, economic hardship of the pauperized
peasant households, crop failure, unemployment and indebtedness has pushed the victims to

Page | 21
end their lives. This is happening in the wake of decline of community sense/support
mechanism as result of the emergence of new production relations.

Rural areas of Punjab experienced a general spurt in their prosperity after the green revolution
in the mid 1960s. The potentials of green of revolution technology began to be exhausted in
the 1980s generating pressure of economic stress among the poor strata of peasantry and
agricultural labourers. The impact of economic distress and decline of traditional social
support system based on community support made the poor people helpless and unable to fend
for themselves as individual families and persons. The non-existence of formal and informal
social support mechanisms caused many poor peasants and agricultural labourers to break
under economic and social stress and to commit suicides. The phenomenon of suicides under
economic distress has been observed in rural Punjab since the mid 1980s. This phenomenon is
not observed equally across all the regions of the state. There are some areas with high
intensity of suicide while in other areas this phenomenon is little known.

The number of farmers and agricultural labourers committing suicide has been growing in the
recent past especially between 1994 and 1997. But it is very difficult to arrive at the exact
estimate of suicides in the rural areas especially by the poor cultivators and agricultural
labourers. The obvious reason for lack of such statistics is the negative fallout of suicide cases
for the family members left behind. If the suicide case is reported to the police (the necessary
condition for recording it), then the case has to be registered by the police for investigation to
establish the cause of the death and fix the responsibility to specific individual(s) responsible
for the suicide. This involves a lot of harassment of the family members at the hands of the
police officials. At the same time, the dead body of the victim has to be taken to the hospital
for post mortem before cremation. This leads to delay in cremation and also removal of some
organs from the body in addition to its disfigurement. The rural people do not appreciate this.
Thus, most of the suicide cases are not reported to the police and are recorded as normal
deaths caused by factors not related to suicide such as illness of various types.

The estimates prepared by various individuals and organizations are mostly guesstimates. The
data collected and presented by Hardev Singh Arshi, a Communist Party of India MLA in
1998 and by Sardar Indeljit Singh Jaijee Ex. MLA (Akali Dal) are rough estimates. Both of
these estimates are based on incidence of suicides in Sangrur, Mansa and Bathinda districts.

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These districts show a high tendency among farmers to commit suicide compared to other
districts of the statexii. Any estimate based on the average of one or two or more blocks in the
high intensity districts, is likely to generate over estimate of the number of suicide cases of
farmers and agricultural labourers. There is no systematic study as yet conducted in Punjab to
cover all districts of the state to arrive at accurate estimates of such suicide cases.

A study sponsored by the Government of Punjab to examine this phenomenon at the aggregate
Punjab level based itself on police records which are very inaccurate on this issue for the
above stated reasons. The studies based on sampled cases by individuals and organizations are
extremely useful and contribute to our understanding of the emerging phenomenon of suicides
among the distressed sections of rural population in the state. Reports from leading
newspapers in the region (The Tribune, Indian Express, The Hindu, Business Standards,
Hindustan Times) focused on this issue and made the public aware of this problem in the most
agriculturally advanced state in the country. The farmer organizations attempted to mobilize
the peasantry on this issue and linked it to the problem of indebtedness and especially to debt
trap among the farmers. The issue became a subject of debate in political circles of the state
with outstanding contribution by two politicians (Mr. Hardev Singh Arshi and Indeljit Singh
Jaijee) and farmer and peasant organizations. The focusing of this issue in political circles was
accompanied by three studies by academics based on areas and districts highly prone to
farmer’s suicides. The study by Bhalla examined the 53 confirmed cases of suicides spread
over 14 villages (11 in Sangrur district and one each in Amritsar, Nawanshahar and Ludhiana
district). The report brought out that 45.20 per cent of the victims were landless labourers,
24.50 per cent small and marginal farmers (0-5 acre land holding), 18.80 per cent upper
medium farmers and 5.60 per cent large farmers (15 and above acres of land holdings). This
study showed that agricultural labourers and poor peasants or farmers accounted for 70 per
cent of the suicides from the confirmed cases in the villages. It further brought out that the
majority of the victims, 60.30 per cent belonged to young persons in the age group of 15-29
years and another 30.20 per cent belonged to the age group of 30-44 years. The relatively aged
victims, of 45 years and above, constituted the remaining 9.50 per cent of the cases. In terms
of educational attainment, 58.50 per cent of the cases belonged to illiterates, 11.30 per cent to
primary level, 11.30 per cent to middle level of schooling and matriculation and above
constituted 18.90 per cent of the total cases. The study reported that the largest cause of

Page | 23
suicides was family discord accounting for 35.79 per cent of the suicides whilst alcohol and
illicit drug use caused 17.89 per cent of the suicides. The economic causes, such as
indebtedness (17.89 per cent), loss of status (16.84 per cent), lack of resources (6.32 per cent)
and crop failure (1.05 per cent) accounted for 42.10 per cent of the suicides. The rest of the
suicides were caused by death in the family (3.16 per cent) and quarrel with in laws (1.05 per
cent). Compared to this, the study by Iyer and Manick (2000) based on 80 suicide cases from 7
villages of three blocks of Sangrur district (Lehragaga, Andana and Bamala) has confirmed the
findings of Bhalla in the matter of age group, educational level and socio-economic
background but differed widely in the matter of causes of suicides. It has been brought out that
economic factors such as distress have been primarily responsible for (78.75 per cent) suicides
among the confirmed 80 cases. These studies establish a close linkage between economic
hardship, indebtedness and suicide. These studies further brought out that economic
hardship/poor economic condition led to indebtedness and indebtedness (high interest rate) led
to economic distress causing suicidexiii.

The pressure of commission agents or banks for return of loan and fear of being arrested and
consequently loss of social status led to 21.6 per cent of the suicides. The threat of land
auction/notice caused 1.3 per cent of the suicides in the study areasxiv. The largest source of
credit has been from non-institutional sources such as commission agents and landlords
separately or in combination with commercial banks and co-operatives. The high interest rate
charged on loans and diversion loans for non-productive purposes or crop failure had placed
them into a debt trap. Creating pressure for suicides through a variety factors mentioned

These above studies bring out that the suicide cases among poor peasants and agricultural
labourers are spread over all the three regions of Punjab i.e. Majha, Malwa and Doaba but
there is high concentration of such cases in three of the districts of Malwa. These districts are
Sangrur, Mansa and Bathinda. These suicides are predominantly caused by economic distress
and indebtedness. The highly commercialized form of agriculture accompanied by spirit of
individualism and decline of traditional social support mechanism and non-existence of a
formal safety system have pushed several rural poor into suicides when faced with acute

Page | 24
economic hardship and indebtedness, along with social and family pressures associated with

So there is a need to organize a comprehensive survey in the state to arrive at accurate

estimates of economic stress related suicides among the farmers and agricultural labourers.
This task cannot be performed by an individual or a research institution on its own. This would
require support and sponsorship of the Punjab government. The government can appoint an
expert group to make estimates and analyze causes and suggest remedial measures to prevent
this unfortunate phenomenon.

Emergence of Economic Distress and its Manifestations:

Economic activities in the state are showing structural change over period of time. Primary
sector is experiencing a decline both in its share of state domestic product (SDP) as well as the
share of workforce. This sector accounted for 49.13 per cent of the share of SDP in 1980-
1981, which declined to 40.32 per cent in 2001-02. Correspondingly, the shares of secondary
and tertiary sectors have increased respectively from 20.01 per cent and 30.86 per cent in
1980-81 to 24.03 per cent and 35.65 of the SDP (Table 1)xv. The share of agriculture and
livestock in SDP of the primary sector has been more than 98.10 per cent during 1980-81 to
2001. The share of agriculture alone (cultivators and agricultural labourers) in the total
workforce of the state stood at 58.01 in 1981 but declined to 39.4 per cent in 2001. Thus, the
agriculture and livestock, though experiencing a decline in their importance, yet remains the
single largest sector of the economy of the state.

Table 1: Percentage Distribution of Net State Domestic Product at Factor Cost at Constant

Sr. Sector 1980-81 1990-91 2000-01


1. Agriculture 33.76 31.17 27.15

2. Livestock 14.44 15.19 12.64

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3. Forestry and Logging 0.88 0.53 0.14

4. Fishing 0.03 0.08 0.39

5. Mining and Quarrying 0.02 0.04 0.00

Sub Total (Primary) 49.13 47.01 40.32

6. Registered manufacturing 6.70 10.10 9.92

7. Unregistered manufacturing 4.96 6.69 5.41

8. Electricity, Gas and Water supply 2.64 3.79 2.65

9. Construction 5.71 3.76 5.05

Sub Total (Secondary) 20.01 24.34 24.03

10. Trade, Hotels and Restaurants 13.10 10.37 12.53

11. Transport, Storage and Communication 2.61 3.11 5.22

12. Banking and Insurance 2.30 4.28 4.84

13. Real Estate and Business Services 4.70 3.49 4.28

14. Public Administration 2.85 3.35 4.68

15. Other Services and Sanitary 5.30 4.05 4.10

Sub Total (Tertiary) 3.86 28.65 35.65

Total State Domestic Product 100.00 100.00 100.00

Note: Figures for 1980-81 and 1990-91 are at a980-81 prices and for 2000-01 at 1993-94 prices.

Cropping Pattern:

Punjab had a fairly diversified cropping pattern before the green revolution. The share of
cereals in the total cropped area was 45.65 per cent and food grains 64.73 per cent as pulses
accounted for 19.08 per cent of the area in 1960-61. Other important crops were cotton, oil
seeds and sugarcane respectively grown on 9.45 per cent, 3.94 per cent and 2.81 per cent of
the total cropped area. Though wheat was the most dominant crop, it was cultivated on only

Page | 26
29.509 per cent of the area. The share of rice in the area was only 4.80 per cent in 1960-61.
Over the years, Punjab agriculture has progressively moved towards the mono crop culture.
The situation was nearly obtained by 1980-81. The area under food grains had increased to
77.77 per cent and under cereals to 66.76 per cent. The area under wheat had increased to
41.57 per cent and under rice to 17.49 per cent of the cropped area. Crops like oilseeds,
sugarcane and pulses were nearly decimated with their respective share being 1.39 per cent,
1.35 per cent and 1.91 per cent of the total area under cultivation. The situation had gone from
bad to worse by 2000-01. The share of food grains in the total area has increased to 79.11 per
cent of the total cropped area and that of cereals to 78.41 per cent, which is predominantly
occupied by wheat-rice combination accounting for 75.87 per cent of the total cropped area.
Along with oilseeds, sugarcane and pulses, cotton had also suffered in the decade of the
nineties. The share of cotton in total area had been above 9 percent during 1960-61 to 1999-
2000 but declined to 5.96 per cent by 2000-01 (Table 2). The share of all other (that is, other
than wheat-rice) crops has been reduced to 24.13 per cent in the total cropped area. In winter it
is wheat everywhere and in summer, rice is cultivated in the fields of Punjab.

Table 2: Shift in Cropping Pattern in Punjab 1960-61 to 2000-01 (Percentage of Gross

Cropped Area)

Year Food- Cereals Wheat Rice Cotton Oil Sugar- Pulses

grams seeds cane
1960-61 64.33 45.65 29.59 4.80 9.45 3.91 2.81 19.08
1970-71 69.18 61.89 40.49 6.87 6.99 5.20 2.25 7.29
1980-81 77.77 66.76 41.57 17.49 9.60 3.52 1.05 5.04
1990-91 75.55 73.65 43.63 26.86 9.34 1.39 1.35 1.91
1995-96 74.17 72.94 41.17 28.33 9.62 3.07 1.76 1.23
1997-98 72.87 71.63 41.34 27.62 9.16 3.15 2.23 1.24
1998-99 74.60 73.55 41.94 28.94 9.20 1.77 1.60 1.05
1999-00 78.29 77.35 42.35 32.53 7.27 2.07 1.33 0.94
2000-01 79.67 78.90 43.18 33.18 6.07 1.25 1.38 0.78
2000-01 71.11 78.41 42.95 32.92 5.96 1.08 1.52 0.69
Source: Statistical Abstract of Punjab (various issues).

Stagnating Productivity:

The green revolution technology raised the productivity of both wheat and rice significantly.
Per hectare yield of wheat increased from 2,095 Kg during 1967-68 to 19669-70 to 4,530 Kg

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during 1998-99 to 2000-01 and rice from 1,392 Kg to 3.335 Kg during this period. But
recently productivity rise is either very slow or stagnating showing exhausting potential of
green revolution technology. The rice yield per hectare has stagnated around 3335-3341 Kg
during the last one decade (1990-91 to 2000-01). The case of wheat, however, is different. The
wheat productivity (yield per hectare) is continuously growing but its rate of growth is
declining. In case of cotton the productivity level has declined in absolute terms giving a
negative growth rate (Table 3). The farmers have achieved 75 per cent of the realizable
potential yields of rice and wheat. The irrigation potentials are fully exhausted and irrigated
area as percentage of net sown area has stagnated at 95 per cent (Table 3). There is no scope of
increasing the area under cultivation. At the same Punjab has become nearly a double crop
area with cropping intensity also stagnating around 186 (Table 4)xvi.

Table 3: Average Yield of Wheat, Rice and Cotton in Punjab (Kg/ha)

Period Wheat Rice Cotton (in lint)

1967-68 to 1969-70 2095 1392 374
1971-72 to 1973-74 2279 2113 415
1974-75 to 1976-77 2400 2410 400
1977-78 to 1979-80 2683 2818 368
1981-82 to 1983-84 2985 3055 280
1985-86 to 1987-88 3346 3230 505
1990-91 to 1992-93 3762 3292 569
1993-94 to 1995-96 3995 3341 481
1996-97 to 1998-99 4134 3337 280
1998-99 to 2000-01 4530 3335 318
Source: Statistical Abstract of Punjab (various issues)xvii.

Table 4: Net Sown Area and Cropping Intensity

Year Net Sown Area (hectare) Cropping Intensity

1960-61 3757 126
1970-71 4053 140
1980-81 4191 161
1990-91 4218 178
1996-97 4234 185
2000-01 4264 186
Source: Statistical Abstract of Punjab (various issues).

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Market Clearance Problems:

With the introduction of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TDPS) in 1997, the off take
of food grains (wheat-rice) has fallen considerably compared to the allocation. This has led to
building up of huge stocks of food grains with the government. Against the minimum norm of
23.3 million tonnes in July 1999, 42.2 million tonnes in July 2000, 61.7 million tonnes in July
2001 and 63.0 million tonnes in July 2002 (Government of India, 2002-03). This has put a
heavy financial burden on the exchequer along with cost of management and logistic efforts
for purchasing, handling, transportation and storage of these stocks. Under the new policy
regime, the government agencies have been entering late in procurement of food grains at the
MSP, causing procurement and market crisis in Punjabxviii. Punjab being the largest contributor
(46.72 per cent in 2001-02) to central stock faces immediate crisis as and when procurement
agencies show slackness in the market. This is reflected in the flooding of market yards with
food grains at the time of harvest and loud protests by farmers against the procurement
agencies. Farmers of the state have faced this situation every year for the last many years. This
has led, many times, to a situation when farmers sell their produce at a price below the MSP.
This has caused harm to farmers and lowered their income and added uncertainty to future
procurement. A message has spread that procurement of wheat and rice is under threat.

The recommendation of the Sen Committee (July 2002) for the withdrawal of central agencies
from procurement and replacement of state agencies in North-Western states, along with
statements by Punjab Government spokespersons suggesting shifting crops away from wheat-
rice rotation (following submission of report by Chief Minister’s Advisory Committee on
Agriculture Policy and Restructuring in 2002), contributed to the impression that wheat-rice
crops are not needed in the state and future procurements, procurement price and market
clearance are in doubt. The uncertainty about procurement at the MSP for wheat and rice and
absence of any other viable cropping pattern, which would be equally remunerative, is a
source of resentment and unrest among the farmers. The farmers have tried sunflower
(oilseeds) vegetable and fruit cultivation in the past but failed due to problems of market
clearance. Livestock, the second major source of income for rural people, is facing problems
with stagnating prices of milk in face of rising cost of production. Further, degradation of the
environment has put a question mark on the sustainability of agriculture. The present cropping

Page | 29
pattern has put heavy pressure on the physical resources of the state. A resource that has been
strained the most is water for irrigation. Irrigation is the lifeline of agriculture of the state. But
the wheat-rice production system has created serious imbalance in the use of water resources.
The total demand for irrigation water in a year in the state is estimated at 4.377 million hectare
meters with existing technology and cropping pattern, against a total supply of 3.130 million
hectare meters both from surface and annual recharge of groundwater sources. This is leading
to an annual deficit of 1.247 million (39.84 per cent) hectare meters (Sondhi and Khepar,
1995). The over-exploitation of ground water resources through tube-wells has led to falling of
the water table at an alarming rate. The proportion of area with more than 10 meters depth of
water table increased from 12.7 per cent in 1973 to 29.8 per cent in 1996 and of 5-10 meters
from 50.6 per cent to 56.1 per cent. There are only six blocks in Punjab which are ‘white’ as
well as technically exploitable (Sidhu and Johl, 2002). Most of the area in the state falls either
in the ‘dark’ or ‘grey’ blocks. This is likely to cause major drinking water problems both in
rural as well as urban areas. With rivers getting polluted, canal water is increasingly becoming
unfit for drinking. On the other hand, South-West Punjab is facing water logging due to
greater supply of canal water, as ground water is saline.

The increased cropping intensity has over exploited the soil and lowered its fertility. Chemical
fertilizers are excessively used leading to greater use of basic elements of soil than what is
added. The low application of organic manure has reduced the organic carbon to a very low
level. Consequently, the soil has become poor in nitrogen (N). The same is the case with
phosphorous (P). The soil has also become deficit in such micro-nutrients as iron and
manganese. The area under forest cover is becoming alarmingly low (5.6 per cent)xix. Thus,
declining water resources, depleting quality of soil and degrading environment has put a
question mark on the present cropping pattern and system of farming. Apart from the rising
cost of production and falling incomes, the rural areas are likely to face new problems like
drinking water scarcity and stack of old and new disease patterns, the signs of which are
already visible in the state.

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The areas with high incidence of farmers and agricultural labourer suicides, especially
Sangrur (particularly Andana and Lehragaga blocks), Mansa and Bathinda (Rampura, Phul)
districts need special attention. It is well-known fact that areas around the Ghaggar River have
shown high proneness towards suicides. This is because of regular flooding of the areas
causing regular crop failure, leading to economic hardship and high indebtedness. At the same
time, this belt is also a cotton growing area. This crop has been facing devastating pest
attacks, largely uncontrolled by pesticides. An end to this would require control over the sale
of spurious pesticides on one hand and bio pest management on the other.

The whole of this regional belt is educationally the most backward in the state. As a long term
measure, educational infrastructure need to be strengthened and rural schools especially must
be made functional. It is not only literacy which matters but mean years of schooling which is
crucial. Higher educational attainments empower individuals to understand their surroundings
and change the environment favourably. The area is not only educationally backward but
lacks urban linkages especially employment opportunities compared to the area around
Amritsar-Delhi National Highway. Overall development of the region would require an area
development approach. The requirement is not merely for economic development, it must be
participatory in nature so as to distribute its benefits to the disadvantaged sections of society.
Without this type of development suicides among the poor peasants and agricultural labourers
cannot be controlled in the long run. In this task, social movements have a major role to play.
It is social movements and their pressure that can make governments attend to the problem.
Ultimately it is for civil society and the government to respond positively and take preventive
and curative measures.

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Chapter 5


1. Repeated crop failure:

It is found that there has been repeated crop failure in the last four years. This crop failure has
resulted in a reduction in the productivity of the land due to a variety of reasons. These reasons
could be due overuse of fertilisers, pesticides and reliance on HYV seeds and now to some
extent on the genetically modified seeds such as the Bt. Cotton. Thus, the crop failure becomes
a cyclical phenomena and not a one-time occurrence. Heavy indebtedness is spreading across
the landholding patterns. In that context, the small and the medium-sized cultivator is the most
affected of the lot, though the large landholder in the rain-fed areas of the state, too, is coming
under strain.
Case: A male-headed household from middle caste background. This household had 12 acres
of land that has now been reduced to five acres of dry land. The farmer had to sell seven acres
of irrigated land to repay the loan he had undertaken. He also worked along with his wife as
agricultural labour. In the last five years, he had incurred a crop loan from formal financial
institutions to the tune of Rs. 10,000/-, an interest-free loan of Rs. 30,000/- from relatives, and
Rs. 5,000/- from private moneylenders. The family reported that there was a repeated crop
failure in the last three years prior to his death, non-availability of wage labour work, and zero
credit worthiness in the market. The liquor intake of the farmer had increased substantially in
the last three years prior to his suicide on 29.12.03. The government offered no compensation.

2. Inability to meet the rising cost of production:

Farmers have been spending more on fertilizers even while crop performance has been
showing a declining trend. On an average, returns to cultivation per farmer household is
Rs.11,259/- in 2002-03. To account for the drought in the said year even if one increases the
returns by one-third then also it would be less than Rs.15,000/-, which given a family size of
5.5 turns out to be less than eight rupees per capita per day. This means that other sources of
income would become necessary if the farmer household has to stay above the poverty line.
About 60 per cent and 10 per cent of farmer households obtain some returns from farm

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animals and nonfarm business respectively and per farmer household monthly returns from
these are Rs.85/- and Rs.236/- respectivelyxx.
The below given diagram explains about the problems faced by the farmers in agriculture
field. The problems like scarcity of water available for irrigation, lack of knowledge about
latest technique due to illiteracy, lack of storage facility etc are some of the main problems
faced by the Indian farmers.

3. Indebtedness:

Indebtedness is the main cause of suicide among farmers. Due to host of reasons like, ranging
from a daughter's marriage to digging a well which eventually bore no water. The
consumption expenditure of marginal and small farmers exceeds their estimated income by a

Page | 33
substantial margin and presumably the deficits have to be plugged by borrowing or other
means. Increased indebtedness is a major cause for the spurt in farmers’ suicides during recent
times across a number of states, according a recent report of the National Commission for
Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS).

A marginal farmer is defined as one having landholding less than 2.5 acre and a small farmer
is defined as one having less than 5 acre. In India, a majority of the farmers are marginal and

Incidence of indebtedness among farmer households was highest in Andhra Pradesh (82%),
followed by Tamil Nadu (75%) and Punjab (65%)xxi.

After the green revolution, agricultural activities have become cash-based individual
enterprises requiring high investment in modern inputs and wage labour as is evident from the
list of states with high incidence of farmers’ suicides, which are not necessarily backward or
predominantly agrarian or with low income, according to the NCEUS report.

“Increased liberalisation and globalisation have in fact led to a shift in the cropping pattern
from staple crop to cash crops like oilseeds and cotton, requiring high investment in modern
inputs and wage labour. This increases credit needs. But when the prices declined farmers
have no means to supplement their incomes,” the NCEUS report noted.

Another problem is that unlike industrialists, farmers do not have access to debt relief under
any law. Being indebted to the private moneylenders, they cannot go to public authorities to
declare themselves insolvent or to get any kind of debt relief.

Huge expenditure on children's education and sudden demand of money for health
considerations and marriage, etc. in the family are also major contributors for stress in farming
community. Inconsistency of rainfall during monsoon, absence of support mechanism for
marketing of agriculture produce also contributed to uncertainty and financial risk of the
The latest NSSO (59th round) has made the following observation that, “an Indian farmer’s
household has an average debt of Rs.12,585.The Punjab farmers top the list with Rs.41,575

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followed by Kerala with Rs,33,907, Haryana Rs.26,007, Andhra Rs.21965 and Tamil Nadu
Rs.21963”(Shiva, and Jalees, 2006: 58). In fact, Andhra Pradesh witnessed highest percentage
of farmers under indebtedness (82.0 per cent) followed by Tamil Nadu (74.5 per cent) and
Punjab (65.4 per cent). In Karnataka 61.6 percent of farmers are now indebtedxxii.
Nonetheless NSSO has made one more observation: more the amount of land, higher will be
the average loan outstanding. However, the NSSO data further clarified that percent of
indebted farmers taking loans from money lenders is highest (29 per cent), followed by Banks
(27 per cent), co-operative society (26 per cent) and finally from government (3 per cent).
Data of debt is given under the below table:
Table 1: Debt Farmer-wise (in Rs crore)

Small and Marginal Farmers 50524

One time settlement to other 9790

TOTAL 60314

Source: Finance Minister speech

Table 2: Debt Bank-wise

Cooperative 55%

Commercial Banks 35%

Regional Rural Banks 10%

Table 3: Debt year-wise (in Rs crore)

From July, 2008 25,000

In Budget 2009-10 15,000

In Budget 2010-11 12,000

In Budget 2011-12 8,000
Total 60,000

Source: Finance Minister speech

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4. Neglect of agricultural community in India:
The neglect of agriculture has put enormous pressure on farmers. Low yields, high input and
low market prices for agricultural produce have led to a vicious cycle of low income and
stagnation. Massive scaling down of public services, particularly in irrigation and agricultural
extension services, has dealt a blow to the sector. The distress in rural areas is reflected in
rising farm indebtedness and suicides in many countries, including China, India, Sri Lanka and
Thailand. The figures are tragic and astounding _ in India alone, almost 87,000 farmers
committed suicide between 2001 and 2005.

The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2008 show that improving
agricultural labour productivity could have a profound impact on poverty reduction. For
example, raising the region's average agricultural labour productivity to the level seen in
Thailand would take 218 million people _ a third of the region's poor _ out of poverty.

India, China, Bangladesh and Indonesia would gain the most. Large gains in reducing poverty
are also possible through the comprehensive liberalisation of global agricultural trade, with the
potential to take another 48 million people out of poverty. Our research also shows that raising
productivity in agriculture will reduce income inequality significantly.

If more reasons were needed for our call to focus on agriculture, then one need only look at the
rising food prices that are being felt across the region. With the demand for biofuel apparently
unstoppable, the region needs a renewed and urgent effort to revive its agricultural sector to
increase food production and stop food prices from spiraling even further.
Escape’s survey shows that the strategy required making agriculture economically, socially
and ecologically viable and thus returning it to its rightful place in reducing poverty and
inequality is a straightforward onexxiii.

These causes arose out of a larger picture of globalization & the resultant neglect of
agricultural community in India.

The rural poor account for around 70% of the poor in the Asia-Pacific region, and agriculture
is their main livelihood. Agriculture appears neglected, even though it still provides jobs for
60% of the working population and generates about a quarter of the region’s GDP. Growth and
productivity in agriculture are slowing, and the green revolution has bypassed millions. In

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South Asia, growth in agriculture output dropped from 3.6% in the 1980s to 3.0% in 2000-
2003. Agricultural labour productivity has a significant impact on poverty reduction. ESCAP
estimates show that a 1% increase in agricultural productivity would lead to a 0.37% drop in
poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.

Agricultural labour productivity has a significant impact on poverty reduction. ESCAP

estimates show that a 1% increase in agricultural productivity would lead to a 0.37% drop in
poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.

Therefore, a policy priority should be to revitalize agriculture. Revitalizing agriculture requires

connecting the poor to markets through improvements to rural infrastructure, the availability
and management of water, agricultural technology, increasing the capacity to adapt
technologies, and speeding up diversification and commercialization. It also requires
improving the distribution of land and the access to agricultural credit and extension - and
making macroeconomic policy friendlier to agriculture, all enabling the poor to make a dent
on poverty by themselves.

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Chapter 6


1. Issue of inadequate and poor availability of credit facilities to the farmers :-

It has been observed that the financial Institutions mainly Nationalized Banks are not
providing credit facilities to farmers as per their actual needs. The scale of finance is extremely
discriminatory, it varies region to region. In Western Maharashtra, farmers are getting upto
Rs.2,00,000/- per Hectare Crop Credit, but in Vidarbha it is extremely poor, not even
Rs.10,000/- per Hectare. It is mockery of Credit Policy and Govt. Control thereon xxiv. The
reason for this is that banks are not carrying out the periodic review exercise for increasing the
scale of finance. In some cases it is observed that though the farmers are eligible for increment
in scale of finance, but it is not made available merely for the reason of the extra staff /
manpower for the purpose of documentation and credit papers at bank is not provided by the
Regional Offices of the Banksxxv. For want of such bank documentation and paper works, the
farmers are denied the fresh incremental loans/credit facilities even though they are eligible for
enhanced credit facilities. This is indirectly causing great hardships to the farmers and they
have been denied the enhanced scale of finance / credit facilities for the failure of banks to
revise the documentation or papers. Thus, inadequate and poor availability of credit facilities
to the farmers is the main reason of exploitation of the farmers’ community, as they approach
private money lenders and sahukars, who all are charging exorbitant rate of interest for such
short term crop loan or credit made available to farmers. This is ultimately resulting in the
unfortunate incidents of farmers’ suicide across the Vidarbha Region.


All the Nationalized banks be strictly advised or ordered to review the scale of finance and
accordingly have extra manpower / staff for documentation and for the paper work for
reviewing and revising the scale of finance and credit facilities to the farmers as per their
eligibility. The Banks be advised/instructed or ordered to make suitable computer software for
the purpose of assessment and documentation for providing the new scale of finance / credit
facilities to the farmers, which is being denied due to manual, lengthy, time killing and

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labourious documentation system presently being implemented in the Banks and could not be
effectively made operational for want of staff and infrastructure in the Rural Sector Branches
of the Banks. The farmers who have been denied the new scale of finance be given additional
finances and credit facilities by extending the last date for such short term of loan. The forms
and formats for credit facilities to the farmers are revised in such way that the time consumed
in lengthy documentation can be avoided at the time of the review/revision of the credit limits
on account of enhancement in the scale of finance and it should be simple and easy to be
understood by farmers so that it would be advantage for farmers as well as banks. It is
unfortunate that the banks have not done computerization along with other infrastructures /
networking for the agricultural sector and as such the benefits arising out of the advantages of
new generation techniques / networking is being denied to the farmers especially in the Rural

JADHAV COMMITTEExxvi has accepted the suggestion given by the VJASxxvii and
recommended that all the nationalized banks be strictly advised / ordered to review the scale of
finance and accordingly have extra manpower and staff for documentation and for the paper
work for reviewing and revising the scale of finance or credit facilities to the farmers as per
their eligibility.

2. Issue of support price of cotton to be enhanced to Rs. 3,000/- per quintal:

It has been found that the rate of cotton has not been increased as compared to the cost of
input. It is not viable to sell cotton below Rs.3,000/- per quintal but since the support price is
very less, the cotton purchasing agencies are not giving any rise and the rates are maintained
just to the level of Rs.2,100/- per quintal maximum even though the national / international
market rates are much abovexxviii. The increment in the minimum support price to the level of
Rs. 3,000/- per quintal alongwith monopoly guaranteed cotton purchase scheme is the
effective need of the hour. The farmers need support of the price as well as guaranteed
purchase scheme other wise market players will exploit them and the unfortunate incidents of
farmers suicides will continue unending and our civilized country will face an awkward
position in the world and for this our government has to take immediate and effective steps.


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The minimum support price of the cotton should be increased immediately to Rs. 3,000/- per
quintal. State Controlled Centers should be started immediately to purchase cotton from
farmers, from the first day & date of arrival of cotton crop to avoid exploitation of the farmers
at the hands of Private Players in the Cotton Trade.

It is relevant to place on record that Government of India has increased and enhanced the
support price to wheat to make it Rs. 1000/- per quintal by giving 40% hike this yearxxix. The
same rationale and equity principle may please be adopted for the Cotton Cultivating Farmers
in the Vidarbha Region as a Special Case, in view of the unpresented crisis being faced by the

JADHAV COMMITTEE has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended
that the minimum support price of the cotton be increased immediately to Rs. 3,000/- per
quintal. State Controlled Cotton Procurement Centers be started immediately from the first day
& date of arrival of cotton crop to avoid exploitation of the farmers at the hands of Private
Players in the Cotton Trade.

3. Issue of uncontrolled & unrestricted sale of bogus & duplicate seeds:

It has been observed that bogus & duplicate seeds being sold to poor and illiterate farmers due
to Non implementation by the Govt. of Maharashtra of the Seed Control Order, 1983 issued
under Sec. 3 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to arrest and control the big wig seed trades
and manufacturers. This massive corruption in sale of duplicate & bogus seeds has resulted in
cheating of the farmer and increasing of debt due to improper farm yield because of poor and
bogus quality of seeds being sold freely due to apathy of State Government. This has indirectly
resulted the unfortunate suicide of the farmers who lost their crops due to poor quality of seeds
being provided to them in lack of proper administrative control by the agriculture department
quality & input of the seeds which otherwise could have been possible due to the stringent
provisions contended in the Seed Control Order, 1983 Of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 if
implemented in its true spirit & meaning. This failure on a part of State of Maharashtra to
control the quality & input of seeds is one of the prime cause for the overall cheating and
exploitation of the poor and illiterate farmers residing in the villages.

Page | 40

For immediate control of quality & input of seeds, it is the need of the hour that the states
should be ordered by Central Government to implement the provisions of seed control order
1983 and to instruct to issue delegation of power to its inspecting officer for control of quality
& input seeds as required under sec. 12 of the seed control order of essential commodities act,
1955 which is the prime tool for the control of quality & input of seeds.

JADHAV COMMITTEE has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended
that the state of Maharashtra be ordered by union of India to implement the provisions of seed
control order 1983 and to instruct to issue delegation of power to its inspecting officer for
control of quality & input seeds as required under sec. 12 of the seed control order of essential
commodities act, 1955 which is the prime tool for the control of quality & input of seeds.

4 .Issue of high cost of Bt. cotton seeds:

It has also been observed that the farmers are not being given proper advice and training by the
Government of Maharashtra in Department of Agriculture since last several years. The costly
and improper BT cotton seeds which are not suitable for dry land farming is being freely
propagated and sold at a very high cost of Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 3600/- Per Kg of BT cotton seeds,
cost of which is virtually killing the farmers due to high input cost and low yield.


There must be the blanket ban on BT cotton seeds in the dry land farming and rain fed areas.
This has to be done immediately in order to save the farmers from undue exploitation and
cheating. There must be ban on sale and misleading advertisement of BT cotton seeds in the
dry land areas of Maharashtra where such seeds are not useful for cultivation of cotton due to
the high cost of input as compared to the yield. The so called upgrade technology is killing the
farmers. Immediate steps may be initiated by the Union of India in this regard to stop free
trials and sales of GM and BT seeds to protect the farmer community at large.

Page | 41
Chapter 7


1. PIL:

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Expressing concern over suicide by hundreds of farmers, an advocate has filed a public
interest litigation petition seeking the intervention of the Supreme Court. Sanjeev Bhatnagar,
who is also an agricultural economist, said that in the last five years over 10,000 farmers had
killed themselves, and Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala were the worst
affected. Farmers in various States were ending their lives unable to repay loans. Prime
Minister Shri Manmohan Singh admitted that farmers had not been given a fair price for their
produce and this resulted in their indebtedness, the petitioner said. The Union Government and
the States concerned were under a constitutional obligation to ensure the survival of farmers.
The Government's planning was lacking in concern for the farmers, who were virtually left at
the mercy of private moneylenders coupled with the vagaries of nature. The petitioner said the
families of farmers, who committed suicide, needed immediate care and redress by way of
condoning loan repayment.

It was ordered by the Court that experts should probe lapses in execution of farm policy.

2. Vidarbha Farmer Suicide Case:

Public Interest Litigation was filed by Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, President, Shri Kishore
Tiwari at Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on increasing of suicide rate in Maharashtra.
The Houn’ble High Court expressed its great concern on the entire crisis and recorded that
there was much hue & cry about the mismanagement of the various packages, hence the
respondent State has appointed a one man Committee consisting of Dr. Narendra Jadhav – The
Vice Chancellor, Pune University, Pune to verify that the packages are properly executed and
to suggest the remedial measures for better implementation of the packages.

High Court also ordered govt. to file detailed affidavit on the scheme of farmers loan waiver of
rs. 71,000 crores as how far it is benefited to the vidarbha farmers in distress and also order to
table Dr. Narendra Jadhav committee report regarding implementation of package schemes for
farmers in crisis.

3. Akola Case:
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A case was filed in Akola District Court by a debt-ridden farmer against 15 high profile
persons including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad
Pawar. According to reports, the farmer, Dilip Ghatole, has held Sonia Gandhi and 15 others
responsible for formulating such policies which led to the untimely and tragic death of his
father Shaligram Ghatole. Shaligram, a cotton farmer, ended his life in October 2007, as he
could not repay his loans. While moving a petition in the Akola district court, the petitioner
said that the present UPA government was responsible for his father’s death. Ghatole’s lawyer
Prakash Ambedkar said that a large section of farmers were suffering due to the government’s
import policy, which prevents them from getting a good price for their cotton. Dilip and his
mother Kaushalyabai are facing extreme hardship in meeting the day-to-day requirements of
their family, as Shaligram Ghatole left behind a crushing debt of over Rs one lakh.

However, the opposition lawyer, who seems to be less worried over the petition, says that the
government policy cannot be challenged in this court. It has to be raised in Parliament or in the
Supreme Court.

The next hearing of the case is on September 26.

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Chapter 8


Along with the suggestions given above for the respective State, there are certain other steps
also which can be undertaken by the Government to prevent such type of accident in future..
They are:

• Enhance the physical interaction between government functionaries and village society by
insisting on more tours, night halts and gram sabhas by officers at all levels of the
administration. This, we feel is the absolute key to resolving many of the issues. The
number of points of direct contact between the government and the farmer need to be

• Actively monitor local society, especially farmers, for signs of social, economic and
psychological distress and if possible provide social, psychological or spiritual
counselling. Alternately, the need is to set up systems that would ensure such monitoring
and counselling on a regular and routine basis.

• Implement with some rigour the various provisions that already exist to safeguard the
interests of the farmer and farm workers for example, the existing money lending act,
minimum wage act etc. in case needed, these acts could be modified to remove existing
loopholes. Already moneylenders are talking of a code for self-regulation, but
government functionaries at the field level need to be more pro-active in this regard.

• Increase the efficiency of agriculture extension activities. This includes spreading

knowledge about improved ways of cultivation, including responsible use of appropriate
type of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc., checking the quality of farm inputs and reliable
professional advice during times of trouble, like when a sowing fails or the crop is
infested with pests or the land is visited upon by a drought or excess rainfall.

• Increase efficiency of various services that are delivered by the government in the name
of people’s welfare at the moment. Namely, improve the functioning of local government

Page | 45
hospitals that already exist, increase the number of Primary Health Centres, and provide
better roads.

• People here need immediate succor and not just sensitization about sanitation, safe
drinking water, nutrition and family planning in the name of sensitization one cannot any
more condone the absence of a basic functional health care system in the villages. Each
Panchayat needs at least one trained medical nurse who can provide such immediate
succour and guide the people to a suitable health provider in times of illness. The issue is
serious enough to be treated in the same way as we did the abolition of the Zamindari
system: with adequate political and administrative will. It might help to make suitable
regulations to this effect in the manner of regulations for Zamindari abolition.
Regulations per se do not bring about a change, but they do open up a door for
empowering people and focusing energies. The health workers salary should come from
government funds but be paid by the local people thus ensuring that s/he is accountable to
the local people in the same way that a salaried employee is.

• For the long-term change, it is important to improve the condition of school education and
provide appropriate vocational education, at least at the village and taluka level to enable
the people to understand and utilise, for their own benefit, the complexities of present day
production and marketing techniques.

• An important mechanism in generating a suicide epidemic is the constant highlighting of

instances of suicide. Therefore, it is important to counsel the media to stop highlighting
suicide since the fact of highlighting suicide itself adds fuel to the suicide fire as it were.

• The ex gratia payment to families of those who commit suicide should be stopped. A
victim of suicide should not be treated at par with the victims of other foreseen
happenings. A family that has lost its breadwinner does need some government and
social assistance to overcome the material loses that follow the tragedy. However, the
help needs to be in some other form. One way could be by providing employment to a
member of the family or help in setting up of a small business.

• Provide direct cash subsidies to actual cultivators. We have hitherto provided indirect
subsidies the benefit of which seldom seems to reach the farmer. A direct subsidy would

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help the actual cultivator substantially in overcoming minor jinxes in life. It will also
ensure a minimum assured income for the actual cultivator.

Chapter 9


Evolutionary-psychology literature argues that a sense of burdensomeness towards kin/family

may encourage suicide by eroding the motive of self preservation. It suggests that perceived
liability towards one’s family is a precursor of suicide. Renowned psychologist, Cialdini
points out that people, by committing suicide, believe that they are helping others to counteract
their own negative affective state. In the Indian farmer’s context, policy makers are arguing
that this negative state is that of indebtedness. But then loan waivers and cash supports are
aggravating this problem because they provide the farmers with the incentive to make this
‘rational’ decisionxxx. Perhaps these short sighted measures are having the exact opposite
effect. They are probably sending out the wrong signal to millions of distressed farmers who
are struggling to make ends meet. The government response to the crisis of farmer suicide has
been simplistic and in some cases perhaps aggravating. The main problem with offering
‘special packages’ to deal with such a problem is that it is reactionary rather than pre-emptive
long term policy. Suicides are characterized by a prior history of difficulties and perhaps also
mental illness that renders the person vulnerable to suicidal behaviour. Suicide is caused by
many factors even when it occurs in a cluster. Therefore it is crucial to avoid
oversimplification of causes and sensationalizing the issue. This requires responsible and
sensitive reporting by the media. The policy implication from the above-discussion calls for an
emphasis on the larger crisis; that of low returns and declining profitability from agriculture
and that of poor non-farm opportunities. Risk management in agriculture should address yield,
price, credit, income or weather related uncertainties among others. Improving water
availability will facilitate diversification of cropping pattern, but this should go hand in hand
with policies that increase non-farm employment

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Improving agricultural extension that addresses deskilling because of technological changes
and also facilitates appropriate technical know-how for alternative forms of cultivation such as
organic farming will be of help. Availability of affordable credit requires revitalisation of the
rural credit market. There is also a strong case for regulating private credit and input markets.
A challenge for the technological and financial gurus is to provide innovative products that
reduce costs while increasing returns. Organising farmers through a federation of self-help
groups (SHGs) with government, banks and other stakeholders playing a pro-active role would
be welcome. Besides, public institutions, there is need for a greater involvement from the civil

Page | 48

The study has utmost significance in today’s age of capitalitism. Almost every day we read in
the newspaper about the suicides of the farmers. As a law student it is our duty to find out the
root cause of the problem. By this project report we came across the harsh reality of
agricultural field. India is a agrarian economy then also the farmers are underestimated and are
not provided with the facilities they need like water for irrigation , electricity, good quality of
seeds etc. while working on the project we got the real position of farmers and their problems.


1. Doctrinal research:

In this project we have done library research/ doctrinal research. We found various books and
articles on the topic and done a detailed study on the problems of farmers.

5. Case study method:

In this project we have referred some cases which show the reality of the farmers’ life. We
consulted various books and articles on internet for the cases. We also study some Supreme
Court Journals to find out recent case laws on suicide on farmers and then study the case law
to get the attitude of judiciary towards the farmers.

6. Comparative study:

In this project we have done a detailed study on three States i.e., Maharashtra, Karnataka and
Punjab. We study the problems of each State and compare their problems with each other. We

work on similarities of their problems and gave suggestions for them.


1. Growth rate in agriculture has declined:

Page | 49
After the detailed study we have analysed the developments in agriculture across various
parameters- overall growth, investment, productivity etc. Whichever way one looks at the
sector, the story is the same, decline in growth. The reports of various committees says the
crisis is pretty severe after 1990s post reforms; the growth rate of agriculture has decelerated
noticeably during the post reform period 1990-91 to 2003-04 as compared to the period 1980-
81 to 1990- 91. The slowing down and stagnation of agricultural growth has adversely affected
the income and employment of vast majority of rural people dependent on agriculture.
It may be emphasized that a major objective of the economic reforms was to initiate policies
that would end discrimination against agriculture and improve its terms of trade vis-à-vis other
sectors of the economy. The whole set of macro-economic policies such as devaluation of the
currency, ending of protection to industry were all expected to benefit tradable agriculture. But
this has not happened.
2. Migration to non-agricultural sectors has not happened:
The non-agricultural income is greater than agricultural income for all states (All India
average of ratio non-agricultural income to agricultural income is 4.97). The incomes are
higher in non-agricultural sector but unfortunately people have not been able to move from
agricultural sector to non-agricultural sector. This aspect has been widely discussed in our
previous report (Indian Economy - Need to shift focus to Growth with Employment; 30
November 2007). The main reason has been that Indian economy has leapfrogged into the
services sector and services sector requires people to have some skill-set. The solution is to
develop policies to promote labor-intensive manufacturing sector.
3. Expansion in rural credit has expanded in institutional category:
The report says that source of credit to agriculture sector has shifted from non-institutional
category (moneylenders etc) to institutional category but still the percentage of former is still
quite high. Moreover the share of non-institutional and moneylenders has increased between
1991-2002. This is because the policy of rural branch expansion was done away in 1990s.
Another point to note is that the share of commercial banks in rural credit has increased and is
almost at par with cooperative banks.


Page | 50
1. Official websites are not updated:

Official website of agriculture department is not updated. They are last updated two-three
years before. Due to this reason data we have collected are not up-to-date.

2. Scarcity of time:

The scope of the topic is very wide. One cannot cover all the dimensions of the topic in
such a paucity of time. For a detailed research, researcher has to give time for detailed
study of the phenomenon of suicide and its reasons which varied from region to region.

3. Scarcity of fund:

Field work is required for the successful completion of this project. But due to scarcity of
fund and time, it was not possible.

4. Scope is too wide.

Suicide among farmers is a wide topic which includes psychological, social, economic
reasons which results in the suicide among the farmers. Due to this reason it is not
possible to cover all these aspects of suicide in such a limited period of time.

Page | 51

Page | 52
. Mamoria, C.B. and Badri Bishal Tripathi, Agriculture Problems of India, Kitab Mahal, Allahabad,
2007, p. 129-130.
Suicide: A Study in Sociology by Durkheim, Émile 2005, p. 45.
Bibek Debroy and Amir Ullah Khan, Enabling Agricultural Markets For The Small Indian
Farmer, Bookwell ,New Delhi, 2003, p.234

Retrieved from visited on April 10,


P. Sainath, Maharashtra: ‘graveyard of farmers’, The Hindu, Wednesday, Nov 14, 2007
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay

Meeta and Rajivlochan, Farmers suicide: facts and possible policy interventions, Yashada, Pune,

2006 pp. 11-13.

M Rajivlochan, Farmers and firefighters, in Indian Express, August 28, 2007

Meeta and Rajivlochan, Farmers suicide: facts and possible policy interventions, Yashada, Pune,

2006 pp. 11-13.

H.S. Shergill, Rural Credit and Indebtedness of Farmers in Punjab, Institute for Development and

Communication, Chandigarh, 1998.

. G. S. Bhalla, et. al., Suicides in Rural Punjab, Institute for Development and Communication,

Chandigarh (1998).

G.S. Bhalla, et. al., Suicides in Rural Punjab, Institute for Development and Communication,

Chandigarh (1998)
Iqbal Singh, ‘Reverse Tenancy in Punjab Agriculture: Impact of Technological Change’, Economic
and Political Weekly, Vol. 37, No. 25, 1989.

. Harish Nayyar and P. Ramaswamy, Globalization & Agricultural Marketting, Rawat Publication,

Jaipur, 1995, p. 71

G.S. Bhalla, 1998.


Jaydep Rath, Sudhanshu Sekhar Mishra, et al, Regional Rural Banks & Agricultural development,

Dominent Publishers & Distributers, New Delhi, 2008

. Nayyar, Harish and P. Ramaswamy, Globalization & Agricultural Marketting, Rawat Publication,

Jaipur, 1995
Bibek Debroy and Amir Ullah Khan, Enabling Agriculture Markets For The Small Indian Farmers.

New Delhi, Bookwell, 2003.

Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India International Food Policy Research Institute, Discussion

Paper October 2008

Retrieved from visited


on March 25, 2009

Retrieved from April 3, 2009
Taken from April 4, 2009

C.B. Mamoria and Badri Bishal Tripathi, Agriculture Problems of India, Allahabad, Kitab Mahal,

2007, p. 421
The Narendra Jadhav Committee was set up to study rising cases of farmers' suicides in Vidharbha
Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti- a farmers organization

R.M.Mohan Rao, suicides Among Farmers: A study of cotton grower, New Delhi, Concept

Publishing company, 2004

D. Narasimha Reddy and Srijit Mishra, Agrarian Crisis in India, Oxford University Press, New

Delhi, 2009, p. 315

Mudit Kapoor and Shamika Ravi, Farmer Suicide Contagion, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad