Thoughts on economics and liberty

Are farmer suicides in India increasing or decreasing?

This is an empirical question.

The following chart was sent to me:

In response to this chart I received the following questions/comments:

1) यह आकडे 2016 से पहले के हैं, 2016 के बाद National Crime Records Bureau ने किसान आत्महत्या का अलग रेकॉर्ड करना बंद करा दिया हैं। 16 के बाद के आकडे शायद अलग निष्कर्ष देंगे।
2) कुल आत्महत्या के संदर्भ में यह विश्लेषण किया हैं, व्यावसायिको का तुलनात्मक अभ्यास करने पर किसान आत्महत्या की गंभीरता समझ में आयेगी। उदा. कितने कारखानदार सुसाईड करते हैं और कितने किसान
3) महिला और किसान की आत्महत्या की गुणात्मकता भिन्न हैं।
4) सरकारीकरण के कारण यदी एक भी आत्महत्या होती हैं, तब भी यह बात सबसे अधिक गंभीर बात माननी चाहीये।

The first three relate to data, the last one is a very valid point that everyone can support.

I got the data-related questions checked by this authentic source. The response:

This report ( data for 2016) was released by GOI only last week. Our slide [does not] show old data. The 2017, 18 data is not yet available.

When we say suicides in farming sector, it includes both farmers and farm labourers. Both men and women. It is meaningless, in our opinion, to qualify the suicides as committed by men, women, farmers, and farm labourers.

Farmers suicides had slightly declined in 2016, compared to 2015. And farm labourers suicides has slightly increased. So what? The total suicides in the farming sector is on steady decline. That’s the core message.

So we must agree that the analysis in the above slides is correct. Anyone interested can download and read this original report by the Government of India.


Even a single suicide is a matter of concern – one suicide too many. Data, however, are important. We need to accept that not all farmer suicides are caused by socialist misgovernance/ anti-farmer laws. However, changing laws that could potentially be a cause of such suicides is an important task at hand.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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