In the 11 months, from January 1, 2021, to November 31, 2021, a total of 2,489 farmers have committed suicide in Maharashtra. In 2020, 2,547 farmers had committed suicide, an RTI query revealed.
According to data from the state revenue department, despite loan waivers and many other schemes, farmers continue to commit suicide because of their inability to repay the debt.
Region-wise Aurangabad (773 to 804) and Nagpur (269 to 309) division has already seen a spike in suicides compared to last year, whereas the Konkan division has recorded zero suicides in the last two years.
With reference to Rs 1 lakh compensation given by the Maharashtra government, an average of only 50% of farmers' kin have been found eligible for the compensation. This has been mainly due to stringent and unfair criteria which were framed 15 years ago, on December 19, 2005.
Since then the government has not bothered to issue fresh guidelines which would benefit the farmers' kin. Meanwhile "Gopinath Munde Accident Insurance scheme" launched on January 1, 2018, which gives Rs 2 lakh cover to farmers does not cover suicides.
Vidarbha region has always been the worst affected with almost half the suicides in the state reported from this region. The district of Amravati (331) has surpassed the district of Yavatmal (270) as the leading district to record the highest suicides compare to last year.
Activist Jeetendra Ghadge of 'The Young Whistleblowers Foundation,' who sought the data said, "Ignoring the mental health aspect of the farmers and just giving loan waivers to all will never address the problem. A bankruptcy scheme for only bankrupt farmers along with mental health support would cost less and solve the problem more effectively. It's important to filter out distressed farmers so that help is channelized to one who needs the most."