The government on Tuesday informed Lok Sabha that at least 115 daily wage earners and more than 43 salaried people died by suicide every day in the country in 2021. While it did not assign any particular reason, it nonetheless painted a grim picture of the possible social and economic stress among the people, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a written reply to a question, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai shared NCRB data that detailed the number of suicides profession-wise in 2021. The data showed about 164,000 people died by suicide last year. Of them, daily wage earners comprised the largest group at 42,004, followed by housewives.
The number of housewives who killed themselves last year was a staggering 23,179, meaning at least 63 housewives died every day in the country. Several studies have pointed out that women remain one of the most significant vulnerable groups across ages. They say the burden of suicide behaviour is more in women than in men globally likely due to gender-related issues, psychopathology, and psychosocial stress.
Housewives accounted for 14.6 per cent of the total 153,052 recorded suicides in India in 2020, according to a BBC report.
A study published in the October, 2018 issue of the Lancet Public Health said that women in India accounted for 36 per cent of global female suicide deaths in 2016, despite making up less than 18 per cent of the world’s female population.
The data also showed that over 37 unemployed persons died by suicide every day with an annual total of 13,714. On the other hand, 20,231 self-employed and 15,870 people in salaried jobs died by suicide.
At least 13,089 students died by suicide, the NCRB data also revealed.
Among the states, suicide numbers were highest in Tamil Nadu. At least 7,673 people killed themselves in the southern state last year. It was followed by Maharashtra (5,270), Madhya Pradesh (4,657), Telangana (4,223) and Kerala (3,345).
Ladakh and Lakshadweep recorded zero suicides and in Nagaland, Manipur, D&N Haveli and Daman&Diu, and Jammu & Kashmir were in single digits. The situation in the rest of the northeastern states was relatively low when compared to the rest of the country: Meghalaya (77), Mizoram (37), Arunachal Pradesh (23), Assam (659), and Tripura (351).
In his reply, minister Rai said the government has enacted the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, in order to provide social security benefits to the workers in the unorganised sector including workers in the agriculture sector.