In 2020, 63 per cent of people who died by suicide were reported to have an annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh. Daily wagers topped the list followed by self-employed and unemployed individuals, according to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on accidental deaths and suicides.
Overall, 153,052 suicides were reported in India during the pandemic hit, an increase of 10 per cent over 2019. About 32 per cent of suicides or 49,270 people belonged to the group that had an annual income between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, reported Moneycontrol. Among the total numbers of male suicides, maximum suicides were committed by daily wage earners (33,164) followed by self-employed persons (15,990) and unemployed persons (12,893).
Suicides by farmers and agricultural labourers remained high, with 10,677 people employed in the farming sector taking their lives in 2020, compared to 10,281 in the previous year. Out of the 10,677 people, 5,579 farmers and 5,098 agricultural labourers committed suicide during the year. Out of 5,579 farmers who committed suicide during the year, 5,335 were male and 244 female, said the NCRB report.
"This impact could possibly be as a result of the pandemic followed by the draconian total lockdown which affected the poor and the marginalised," Johnson Thomas of Aasra, a Navi Mumbai based organisation and suicide prevention centre, said about suicides among daily wage earners and people from the lower-income groups.
Highest Number of Suicides Among Houswives In Females
Among females, the highest number of suicides was for housewives (22,372) followed by students (5,559) and daily wage earners (4,493), the report added. Thomas said that, in addition to domestic violence, the lockdowns also possibly added pressure and stress on women at home, as their share of work increased given more members of the family to attend, making it difficult for them. In fact, a study found that during the COVID pandemic, women, particularly mothers, invested more energy in household tasks, such as childcare and family tasks than men.
Family problems (33.6 per cent) and illness (18 per cent) accounted for the major causes of suicides. Drug abuse/addiction (6 per cent), marriage related issues (5 per cent), love affairs (4.4 per cent), bankruptcy or indebtedness (3.4 per cent), unemployment (2.3 per cent), failure in examination (1.4 per cent), professional/career problem (1.2 per cent) and poverty (1.2 per cent) were other causes of suicides.
States With Highest Rates
Maharashtra reported the most (19,909) number of suicides in the country, followed by Tamil Nadu (16,883), Madhya Pradesh (14,578), West Bengal (13,103), and Karnataka (12,259). These five states together accounted for 50 per cent of all the suicides reported in India.
Cities With Highest Rates
Delhi topped the list among metropolitan cities with 3,025 suicides, followed by Chennai (2,430), Bengaluru (2,196) and Mumbai (1,282). These four cities together reported almost 37.4 per cent of the total suicides reported from 53 megacities.
Union territories and smaller states reported higher suicide rates with Andaman and Nicobar Islands reporting the highest (45), followed by Sikkim (42.5), Chhattisgarh (26.4), Puducherry (26.3) and Kerala (24.0). West Bengal, Bihar, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Tripura reported zero suicides of farmers or agricultural labourers in 2020.