NEW DELHI: India reported 122,637 suicides last year — an average of 336 every day — with more men ending their lives than women, the latest report
of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has revealed.
Although suicide was a nationwide phenomenon, five states — Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — registered consistently higher number of suicidal deaths during the last few years. Overall, 2007 recorded an increase of 3.8% over the previous year's figure of 118,112.
Poverty was surprisingly not the major reason for suicide with more people ending their lives due to family (23.8%) and health problems (22.3%) than bankruptcy or sudden change in economic status (2.7%), love affairs (2.8%), dowry dispute (2.6%), unemployment (2%) and suspected/illicit relation (1.1%). Only 2.3% of people committed suicide due to poverty.
A definite trend is also noticed among different states which, perhaps, speaks volumes about the `psychological state' of people than their actual difficulties which they might be facing before being prompted to take the extreme step.
The latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), released last month and covering the year 2007 has revealed much more. Incidentally, it is not the comparatively poor states like Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh which witnessed suicides in higher numbers. The dubious distiction, in fact, went to well-off states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Out of the total 122,637 suicides committed in the country last year, the highest, 15,184, was reported from Maharashtra followed by Andhra Pradesh (14,882), West Bengal (14,860), Tamil Nadu (13,811) and Karnataka (12,304). These five states accounted for 57.9% of the total suicides reported in India. The remaining were reported from the other 23 states and seven Union Territories (UTs). UP, the most populous state (16.6% share of population) reported comparatively lower percentage, accounting for only 3.2% of total suicides.
As far as suicides committed by farmers (16,632) are concerned, Maharashtra (4,238) surpassed all other states with its Vidarbha region becoming the focal point.
According to the NCRB's report, Karnataka saw 2,135 farmer suicides, Andhra Pradesh (1,797), Chhattisgarh (1,593), Madhya Pradesh (1,263) and Kerala (1,232). Although the overall figure shows a slight fall from 17,060 in 2006, the broad trend remained unchanged with indebtedness becoming the main cause.
The number of farmers who committed suicide in Maharashtra accounted for more than a quarter of the total suicides reported in the state.
Referring to the sex profile of persons committing suicide during 2007, the NCRB report said social and economic causes led most males to kill themselves whereas emotional and personal causes mainly drove women to end their lives.
Sex wise figures show that the male-female ratio of suicide victims for 2007 was 65:35. However, the proportion of boys-girls suicide victims (upto 14 years was 48:52. The proportion of female victims was comparatively higher under the heads dowry dispute, illegitimate pregnancy, not having children, divorce, physical abuse, cancellation/non-settlement of marriage and suspected/illicit relation.
The NCRB, for the first time, gave statistics of family members committing suicide jointly under a common pact. Total 264 deaths were reported under this category where 118 males and 146 females committed suicide. The highest number of such cases were reported from Kerala (39) followed by Andhra Pradesh (34) and Madhya Pradesh (12).
According to NCRB, the means adopted for suicide varied from easily available means such as consumption of poison and jumping into a well to more painful means such as self-inflicted injuries, hanging and shooting.