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Behavioural Aspect of Farmer Suicide

Behavioural Aspect of Farmer Suicide

Tag: GS 3 || Economy|| Agriculture || Agricultural Production & Productivity

Why In News?

  • Farmer suicides, which have till now been studied economically and agriculturally, are now being looked at from behavioural and psychological angles.

 Study on farmer’s suicide

  • A study is being conducted under the National Agricultural Science Fund of IICAR in three states — Punjab, Telangana and Maharashtra.
  • The study has looked at it from behavioural, psychological and cultural perspectives in addition to the earlier two.

 Major causes of suicide

  • Since most discussions and parleys on suicides are overtaken by issues of crop failures, rising debts, new farming techniques, the psychological aspect is largely ignored.
  • One of the major causes behind suicidal intent is depression, found the researchers.
  • It needs to be understood that at times a farmer under a debt of Rs 2 lakh shows a tendency to end his life, while another under a debt of Rs 10 lakh does not.

Psychological assistance

  • The study suggested roping in psychologists and counselors on various issues.
  • They included battling depressive ruminations, suicidal ideations, negative cognitions, hopelessness, helplessness.
  • It aimed at recognising and managing stressors like financial distress, relationship problems, and enhancing psychological resources through emotional well being, and mindfulness.

 Model of 7’s

  • The researchers developed a ‘7D’ model of triggering and confounding factors and a ‘7R’ model of preventive and protecting factors to deal with the problem of farmer suicides.

‘7D’ model

  • Drugs,
  • Debt,
  • Disease,
  • Disputes,
  • Depression,
  • Disrepute and
  • Death

‘7R’ model

  • Remunerative agriculture,
  • Resilience building,
  • Rational expenditure,
  • Reassurance through connectivity,
  • Righteous conduct,
  • Religious support and
  • Responsible reporting

Way forward

  • Farmers don’t need money only, they need motivation
  • Along with subsidies, increased farm profits, the focus should also be on resilience building and problem solving skills of farming families.
  • In suicide-prone states, agricultural institutes and scientists should start distributing seeds of resilience, tolerance and contentment among farmers, suggested researchers.
  • Agriculture universities can play a powerful role in dissipating the culture of shame associated with mental illness and depression as it is the fear of stigma that acts as a barrier to seek appropriate treatment.
  • Policies of integrated pest management to prevent pest damage
  • Lower fertilizer costs
  • Precision farming techniques like SRI (Systematic Rice Intensification) must be encouraged.
  • Subsidies must be rerouted towards capital generation and entrepreneurial Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs).
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)must be encouraged in the agricultural sector, particularly towards capacity-building, skill development and the establishment of CHCs.
  • Cooperative farming
  • Doubling the farmer income

Farmers’ Suicides – What do the facts say?

  • The list includes farmers-cultivators and agricultural labourers.
  • Seven states account for 5% of total suicides in the farming sector in the country. The states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
  • Both marginal farmers and small farmers are committing suicide.
  • Maharashtra is the worst affected state.
  • Ironically, Punjab, which benefited most from the Green Revolution, also presents a depressing picture of farmer’s suicides in India. Between 1995-2015, 4687 farmers’ suicides have been reported from the state of Punjab of which 1334 from one Mansa district alone.

Mains  Question

How to prevent farmers from committing suicides in India?