Daily wagers biggest group among suicide victims, 'self-employed … – The Indian Express

Marking a steady increase since 2014, the share of daily wagers among those who die by suicide in the country has crossed the quarter mark for the first time, according to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) — one in four of the recorded 1,64,033 suicide victims during 2021 was a daily wage earner.
The report — “Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India” — shows that daily wage earners remained the largest profession-wise group among suicide victims in 2021, accounting for 42,004 suicides (25.6 per cent).
In 2020, too, daily wage earners accounted for the highest share, with 37,666 (24.6 per cent) of the 1,53,052 recorded suicides in the country. In 2019, before the Covid outbreak, the share of daily wage earners was 23.4 per cent (32,563) of the recorded 1,39,123 suicides.
The latest report shows that not only did the share of daily wage earners among suicide victims go up during 2021, the number increased faster than the national average.
At the national level, the number of suicides increased by 7.17 per cent from the years 2020 to 2021. However, the number of suicides in the daily wage group rose by 11.52 per cent during this period.
The report lists the daily wage numbers separately from those of agricultural labourers, who have been grouped in a sub-category under the category of “Persons engaged in farming sector”.
According to the report, 10,881 suicides were recorded in the “Persons engaged in farming sector” group in 2021, including 5,318 under “farmer/cultivator” and 5,563 “agricultural labourers”.
Significantly, while the number of suicides committed by “farmer/cultivator” has dipped — 5,579 in 2020 and 5,957 in 2019 — those by “agriculture labourers” has risen sharply from 5,098 in 2020 and 4,324 in 2019.
The overall share of “Persons engaged in farming sector” among the total recorded suicides stood at 6.6 per cent during 2021, the report shows.
The report defines “farmer/cultivator” as a person whose “profession is farming and includes those who cultivate on their own land as well as those who cultivate on leased land/other’s land with or without the assistance of agricultural labourers”.
The “agricultural labourer” has been defined as a “person who primarily work in farming sector (agriculture/horticulture) whose main source of income is from agriculture labour activities”.
The NCRB categorises suicide data under nine profession-wise groups: students, professional/ salaried persons, daily wage earner, retired persons, unemployed persons, self-employed persons, house wife, persons engaged in farming sector and other persons.
Among these groups, the highest increase of 16.73 per cent was recorded by “self-employed persons”: 20,231 in 2021, 17,332 in 2020 and 16,098 in 2019. The share of “self-employed persons” among total suicides in the country also increased to 12.3 per cent in 2021 from 11.3 per cent a year ago.
The “unemployed persons” group was the only one that saw a decline in suicides, with the number dipping by 12.38 per cent from 15,652 in 2020 to 13,714 suicides in 2021.
The “House wife” category accounted for 14.1 per cent of the total suicides during 2021 — their number increased by 3.6 per cent from 22,374 in 2020 to 23,179 in 2021.
The report shows that the number of student suicides stood at 13,089 in 2021, up from 12,526 in 2020. In 2021, the number of suicides by “retired persons” stood at 1,518 while 23,547 suicides were recorded in the “other persons” category.
According to the report, “Family Problems (other than marriage related problems)” with 33.2 per cent, “Marriage Related Problems” (4.8 per cent) and “Illness” (18.6 per cent) together accounted for 56.6 per cent of total suicides in the country in 2021.
“This data depicts only profession of persons who have committed suicide and has no linkage whatsoever regarding cause of suicide,” the report said.
“Nearly 68.1 per cent of the male victims were married whereas the ratio was 63.7 per cent for the female victims. 11.0 per cent victims of suicide were illiterate, 15.8 per cent victims of suicide were educated up to primary level, 19.1 per cent of the suicide victims were educated up to middle level and 24.0 per cent of the suicide victims were educated up to matric level. Only 4.6 per cent of total suicides victims were graduate and above,” the report said.
The report pegs the overall male-female ratio of suicide victims at 72.5:27.5 during 2021.
As per the report, the rate of suicides (defined as incidence of suicides per one lakh of population) was recorded at 12 — marginally up from 11.3 in 2020 and 10.4 in 2019.
From the nationwide number in 2021, the maximum of 22,207 suicides were recorded in Maharashtra, followed by Tamil Nadu (18,925), Madhya Pradesh (14,956), West Bengal (13,500) and Karnataka (13,056). Among Union Territories, Delhi recorded the highest number of 2,840 suicides.
“The States and UTs which have reported higher percentage increase in suicides in 2021 over 2020 were Telangana (26.2 per cent), UP (23.5 per cent), Puducherry (23.5 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (14.5 per cent), Kerala (12.3 per cent), Tamil Nadu (12.1 per cent), Maharashtra (11.5 per cent) and Manipur (11.4 per cent) while highest percentage decrease was reported in Lakshadweep (50.0 per cent), Uttarakhand (24.0 per cent), Jharkhand (15.0 per cent), Jammu & Kashmir (13.9 per cent) and A & N Islands (11.7 per cent),” the report said.

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Harikishan SharmaHarikishan is a Senior Assistant Editor, and he writes on agriculture,… read more

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