• ABSTRACT- Today the country is growing at a double digit GDP. But the same time there are thousands of farmers who are committing suicides every single year. This is at such a rate that, a popular newspaper in India maintains a count of how many farmers commit suicide every day. Ironically this column exists along with the Sensex rate. This is sad state of affairs which is existing in the country . I feel that, for every farmer who commits suicide, the country is falling one step down. This article aims at looking into the various causes for these suicides and the structural change which has taken place.
• INTRODUCTION - Suicide is the “intentional taking of one’s own life.” Evidenced in the mid-1600s, suicide is formed from the Latin sui, “of oneself,” and –cide, a combining form meaning “killing,” seen in other such words as homicide or insecticide.
Because suicide is usually seen as a deliberate act, many feel that it’s logical to describe it as something a person commits (i.e., “does, performs, perpetrates”). The issue, though, is that when we use the word commit to describe suicide, it implies that a choice was made in the same way that one might choose to commit a crime or a sin. However, those who die by suicide usually do not feel as though they have a choice.
Many who die by suicide struggle with mental illness, such as depression and anxiety. Others may be victims of trauma or facing major life stressors—such as physical or sexual abuse, homelessness, legal problems, loss of a loved one, persecution, and rejection—that make them feel as though suicide is the only way to stop their suffering. Describing someone as having committed suicide makes it sound like they perpetrated a crime on themselves, when, in reality, they were a victim.
CAUSE- Liberalisation era (1990-91) began in India when over 40% of rural households were landless or near landless, and over 96% of the owned holdings and 68.53% (over 2/3rd ) of owned land belonged to the size groups (marginal, small and semi-medium). The decade of 1981-82 to 1991-92 seems to have witnessed a marked intensification of the marginalisation process – the percentage of small owners increased from 14.70% to 21.75%.
• REASON OF FARMER'S SUICIDE
Agricultural sector is the mainstay of the rural Indian economy around which socio-economic privileges and deprivations revolve, and any change in its structure is likely to have a corresponding impact on the existing pattern of social equality. No strategy of economic reform can succeed without sustained and broad based agricultural development.
(i) The surge in input costs: A major cause of the farmers’ suicides in India has been the increasing burden on the farmers due to inflated prices of agricultural inputs. The culmination of these factors is seen in the overall increase in the cost of cultivation, for wheat, the cost at present is three times than it was in 2005.
(ii) Cost of chemicals and seeds: Be it the fertilisers, crop protection chemicals or even the seeds for cultivation, farming has become expensive for the already indebted farmers.
Costs of Agricultural equipment: The input costs, moreover, aren’t limited to the basic raw materials. Using agricultural equipment and machinery like tractors, submersible pumps etc adds to the already surging costs. Besides, these secondary inputs have themselves become less affordable for the small and marginal farmers.
(iii) Labour costs: Likewise, hiring labourers and animals is getting costlier too. While this may reflect an improvement in the socio-economic status of the labourers, driven primarily by MGNERGA and hike in minimum basic income, this has not gone too well with boosting the agriculture sector.
(iv) Distressed due to loans:NCRB data points out that in 2474 suicides out of the studied 3000 farmer suicides in 2015 the victims had unpaid loans from local banks. This is clear enough an indication for drawing correlations between the two. Whether or not the banks had been harassing them, however, is a long-drawn debate and needs more specific empirical evidence.
• IPC PROVISION- Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code states that “whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such an offense shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with a fine or with both”.
Section 306- Abetment to suicide also implies in IPC provision in case of suicide.
• CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONAL- It is trite law that right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution does not include right to die. While a person who dies by killing itself cannot be prosecuted but a person who fails is course of committing suicide can be punished under section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
• CONCLUSION- Suicide is a multifaceted problem and hence suicide prevention programmes should also be multidimensional. Collaboration, coordination, cooperation and commitment are needed to develop and implement a national plan, which is cost-effective, appropriate and relevant to the needs of the community. In India, suicide prevention is more of a social and public health objective than a traditional exercise in the mental health sector. The time is ripe for mental health professionals to adopt proactive and leadership roles in suicide prevention and save the lives of thousands of young Indians.
Credit: SUSHMITA SARKAR.
Clg name:VES COLLEGE OF LAW