Alarmed by the rising number of suicides committed by farmers, the Supreme Court has declared it a “sensitive matter”. The court said that the matter requires urgent attention and is a matter of public interest since farmers provide food to the entire country, even as they continue to face a wide variety of problems including poor agricultural infrastructure, water scarcity, health issues, illiteracy, financial problems, etc.
On Friday, a bench comprising Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice N.V. Ramana asked the Center, state governments, Union Territories and Reserve Bank of India to investigate the potential reasons, as to why so many farmers are committing suicide. The court has asked these authorities to submit their report within four weeks. The court was responding to a plea filed by a non-governmental organization on issues related to farmers.
It may be recalled that earlier in November 2016, the central government had issued a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. In its reply, the center had cited a 2014 report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), according to which, the most common reasons for farmer suicides was debt, crop failure, drought, socio-economic and personal reasons.
As per NCRB’s Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India 2014 report, 5,650 farmers committed suicide in 2014. The highest number of farmer suicides was recorded in Maharashtra at 2,568, followed by Telangana with 898 and Madhya Pradesh with 826.