The Centre on Monday informed the Parliament that no composite data had been collated on farmer suicides as several states do not submit figures to the National Crime Record Bureau, reported PTI.
“As informed by NCRB many states and union territories had reported ‘Nil’ data on suicides by farmers, cultivators and agricultural labourers after several validations even while reporting suicides in other professions,” Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, according to NDTV. “Due to this limitation national data on causes of suicide in farming sector was untenable and not published separately.”
Congress MP PL Punia had posed the question to the Centre, and asked if the NCRB had done away with listing out causes for farmers’ suicides.
The latest NCRB data showed that 10,281 farmers had died by suicide in 2019 and 10,357 of them in 2018. Suicides in this sector alone accounts for 7.4% of the overall figure in the country.
The central government’s reply came about a week after it drew severe criticism for admitting in Parliament that there was no data on the number of migrants workers who died during the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
On September 15, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the Centre, saying: “You didn’t count, so nobody died? The sad thing is that there was no impact on the government. The world saw them dying but the Modi government remained unaware.”
The lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March left lakhs of migrant workers stranded in big cities without work. Hundreds of thousands of them then began long journeys to home on foot, sometimes over distances of more than 1,000 km. Some died on the way due to illness, while others died in road accidents. Some died of exhaustion after walking home in the scorching heat.
Faced with fierce criticism over the migrant crisis, the Centre had launched over 300 “Shramik” special trains on May 1. On June 9, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan had directed the Centre and states to identify stranded migrant workers and transport them back to their hometowns within 15 days.