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Maharashtra Farmers Suicide on Rise Despite 2017 Loan Waiver

In the last five years (2014 to 2018), Maharashtra saw 14,034 farmers end their lives. More than 4,500 committed suicide after the State announced a Rs. 34,000-crore loan waiver in June 2017.

Tooba Maher

In the last five years (2014 to 2018), Maharashtra saw 14,034 farmers end their lives. More than 4,500 committed suicide after the State announced a Rs. 34,000-crore loan waiver in June 2017. 

This information on farmer-suicides is highlighted from a response by the Maharashtra Government to an RTI application by Mumbai-based activist Jitendra Ghadge. 

Surprisingly, 14,034 farmers committed suicide over the five-year period, the mega loan waiver of Rs. 34,000 crore announced by the State government in June 2017 did not help end the farmer-suicide wave. 

According to the RTI data, 1,755 farmers across the State ended their lives from June 2017 to December 2017, while the number of farmers who ended their lives in 2018 stood at 2,761. 

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a Rs. 34,022-crore loan waiver to provide relief to 89 lakh farmers across the State. He said, “It’s a historic decision. The waiver amount declared by our government is the highest.” 

Only, 32% of the total farmer suicides were recorded after the loan-waiver scheme was announced. 

As per the information from the State government provided to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), 6,268 farmer-suicide cases were registered in Maharashtra from January 2011 to December 2014. The number of suicides almost doubled to 11,995 in the next four years (2015-18). 

The State government, in its letter to the NHRC in 2015, mentioned, “The prominent reasons noted for farmer suicides are debt, crop failure, inability to repay debt resulting in pressure from debtors, inability to procure enough money for daughter’s marriage or other religious activities, chronic severe illness, vices like alcohol addiction, gambling etc”. 


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