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Decoding Alarming NCRB Data On Suicide Rates, Homemakers' Plight

The latest government data shows that an average of 468 people took their own lives per day in 2022, with daily wage workers and homemakers making up the majority of the cases. The suicide rate among these groups is twice as much as farmers' suicides.

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Tanya Savkoor
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The National Crime Records Bureau's latest crime in India report demands urgent attention to the suicide epidemic in India. An average of 468 people in India died of suicide every day in 2022, the data reveals, with a staggering majority of these cases among daily wage workers and homemakers. The number of suicides among these groups, followed by unemployed people, students, and farmers, makes up most of the suicide cases in India in 2022, the NCRB data stated.

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The NCRB states that 1.71 lakh suicides were recorded last year, registering a 4.2% increase over 2021 and a jump of 27% compared to five years ago (2018). The number of suicides reported is severely increasing every year, the NCRB Crime in India report shows. Especially in 2020, when the pandemic started, the suicide rates soared. The data exposes a harsh fact-- daily wage workers and homemakers in India are neglected, making them most vulnerable to suicide.

Homemakers

The total number of homemakers reported to have died by suicide in each year between 2018 and 2022 was consistently more than twice the figure for farmers, the NCRB data exposed. 2022 saw the highest number of suicides, at 25,309 cases, among homemakers compared to the past five years. 14.8% of the total suicides were among homemakers in 2022.

In 2021, the NCRB stated that 23,178 homemakers were reported to have taken their own lives, increasing from 22,372 in 2020. In 2019, as many as 21,359 cases of suicides among homemakers were reported, accounting for 15.4% of the total suicides, showing a marginal decline from the year before that. In 2018, 22,937 cases of suicide, accounting for 17.1% of the total that year, were reported among homemakers. 

Daily Wage Workers

The NCRB report stated that 45,185 daily wage earners died of suicide in 2022. Close to 26% of the suicides in the country last year were among the daily wage workers. This number displays a continual rise in daily wage worker suicide rates in the last five years. 

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In 2018, 30,124 daily wage workers had died from suicide, which rose to 32,559 in 2019. Cut to 2020, the onset of global turmoil, where migrant labourers and daily wage earners bore the heaviest brunt of the lockdowns on their shoulders, resulting in 37,657 suicides. Again, 2021 saw a sharp increase in suicide rates, as 41,997 daily wage workers took their own lives.

The NCRB reported that daily wage earners mostly died of suicides in the State of Tamil Nadu with 7,876 cases, followed by 6,275 cases in Maharashtra and 5,371 cases in Madhya Pradesh.

Other Groups Affected

19,484 self-employed persons died of suicide in 2022, while unemployed persons accounted for 15,714 suicide cases in 2022. The number of student suicides reported in 2022 was 13,044. All these groups have a higher rate of suicide than farmers.

In 2022, 11,290 farmers were reported to have died by suicide, keeping the percentage at 6.6 % of total suicides in the year. A majority of farmer suicides were reported in Maharashtra, followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.

According to the report, there were 150 cases of mass or family suicides last year and in these, 325 persons lost their lives. Maximum such cases were reported in Tamil Nadu, followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In the case of mega

cities, eight of them registered 19 such cases of mass and family suicides in which 46 persons took their lives.

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Where Are The Cases Most Reported?

The national capital Delhi reported the highest number of suicides in a city, with 3,367 cases brought to light last year. Following Delhi is Bengaluru, with 2,313 suicide cases reported last year. Then come Chennai with 1,581 cases and Mumbai with 1,501 cases of suicides. These four metro cities together make up almost one-third of all suicide deaths. 

Among states, the majority of suicides were reported in Maharashtra with 22,746 cases, followed by 19,834 cases in Tamil Nadu, and 15,386 in Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and West Bengal together accounted for nearly half of the total suicides reported in the country.

Reported Reasons For Suicide

Family disputes were listed as the main reported cause for suicide, last year as well as the last five consecutive years, the NCRB data revealed. This is followed by (mental) illness, which is again, another leading reason reported consecutively. These two causes account for a majority of suicide deaths. 

These are followed by love affairs and marriage issues, accounting for 9.3% of suicides in 2022, followed by bankruptcy and indebtedness being the cause in 4.1% of cases. Among homemakers, the NCRB report also showed that dowry and domestic abuse were also reported as the reasons for their suicide.

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