Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Examining Farmer Suicides in India: A Study of Literature

Mukherjee, Sanchita (2009): Examining Farmer Suicides in India: A Study of Literature.

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Abstract

Farmer’s suicides are not a phenomenon by itself; rather it is an extreme manifestation of the underlying agrarian crisis prevailing within the country for a long period of time. In recent time period this menace has turned out to be an epidemic, which has rocked the whole country. According to official records, around 160,000 farmers have committed suicide since 1997 (Vandana Shiva, 2008). These numbers are enough to pass a chill down the spine! Given these facts, this paper tries to trace out the major factors leading to such rural devastation on basis of the literatures available. According to literatures most affected states are: Maharashtra (Vidharbha), Andhra Pradesh (Telengana, Warrangal, Rayalaseema, etc), Karnataka (Northern Karnataka), Kerala (Wayanad) and Chhattisgarh. The reasons cited by the literatures highlights rural indebtedness as one of the major factor. Policies associated with the process of liberalisation imposed stress on peasantry of the country by withdrawing formal supports towards the sector, which in turn made farmers dependent on non-institutional sources such as private moneylenders and private agents. Seed sector liberalisation has not only brought private players in agriculture but also encouraged monoculture of hybrid cash crops requiring costly inputs, which eventually gets transformed into debt. This situation coupled with crop failure due to pest attack, climatic change and lack of irrigation led to mismatched expectation of farmers and indebtedness. Agonised farmers found solution to all these woes in the forbidden path of committing suicide.

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