More than 25,000 citizens died by suicide due to unemployment or indebtedness between 2018 to 2020, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Deaths due to suicide as a result of unemployment increased from 2,741 in 2018 to 3,548 in 2020. In the case of indebtedness, deaths by suicide increased from 4,970 to 5,213 during the same period.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai put forth the data collected by the National Crime Records Bureau while responding to a question posed in Rajya Sabha by leaders of Samajwadi Party and Congress.

Apart from demanding number of suicides because of employment and indebtedness, they also sought to know if the government has taken any steps to address these problems.

Rai, in his written response, said that the government is implementing the National Mental Health Programme and the District Mental Health Programme in 692 districts.

Deaths by suicide as per NCRB data

Causes 2018 2019 2020
2,741 2,851 3,548
Bankruptcy or indebtedness
4,970 5,908 5,213
Source: Written response by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai in the Rajya Sabha on February 9, 2022.

Measures such as suicide prevention services, workplace stress management, life skills training and counselling in schools and colleges will be included in these programmes.

For employment generation, Rai mentioned initiatives such as Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana has been implemented to incentivise employers to create new jobs. He also talked about the

National Career Service Project that has been formed to match job-seekers and employers.
The minister said “flagship” programmes such as Make In India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat Mission and others have the potential to generate productive employment opportunities.

Opposition MPs highlighted unemployment

During the Budget Session, several Opposition members have talked about rising unemployment in the country.

Congress member Anand Sharma said on Monday that the President’s address during the Budget Session made no mention of employment concerns. Sharma had alleged that as many as 42 crore people in the country don’t have jobs. “Read your economic survey for the level of unemployment in the country,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had said on February 2 that the Budget had failed to address rising unemployment in India. Kharge also noted that in 2014, the Centre had guaranteed 2 crore jobs every year, whereas this year it has promised 60 lakh jobs for the next five years.

India’s unemployment rate reached a four-month high in December, data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy showed in January. The monthly unemployment rate was 7.91%, up from 7% in November. The previous high was in August when the rate had touched 8.32%.