In the recent data released by the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB), suicides committed by businessmen in India during the pandemic year of 2020 outnumbered that of the farmers whereas between 2014 and 2019 the scenario remained diametrically opposite.
The NCRB data shows that in 2020, during the pandemic, farmer suicides increased by 3 per cent while those of businesspersons by 29 per cent as, according to the experts, Covid affected the non-agricultural sector more than agriculture this time.
NCRB's recent report on Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India suggests that 11,716 businesspersons have committed suicide in 2020, which implies a massive 29 per cent leap from 2019 when 9,052 businesspersons had died of the same cause.
According to the report, figure for farmer suicides stayed at 10,677 for 2020, which is around 1,039 cases fewer than that of businesspeople.
For both categories, the numbers have been consistently going upwards since last few years.
Statistics suggest that in 2017,over 7,800 businessmen committed suicide which in 2019 rose to over 9,000 and by 2020 the number climbed to 11,700.
In the same period, farmer suicides dropped from nearly 10,700 in 2017 to over 10,300 in 2018 and 2019 before again rising to the 10,700 mark in 2020 (see graph).
A detailed demographic analyis of the report reveals that 93% of the businessmen committing suicide were men. Most of them them were either vendors (36 per cent) or tradesmen (37 per cent) hailing from highly developed states.
In the recent NCRB data, Karnataka tops the list of states recording the highest number of suicides among businessmen with 1,772 cases. It is a jump of 103 per cent from 2019, when only 875 businesspersons had died of suicide in the southern state.
Maharshtra's name comes right after Karnataka with about 1,610 cases of suicides amongst businesspersons which implies a 25 per cent jump from the 2019 figure while 1,447 died in Tamil Nadu (36 per cent jump).
These three states account for 40 per cent of the total businessperson suicides recorded in these three states alone.
The number of suicides by businesspersons, however, is far lower than that of the unemployed (15,652) and daily-wage earners (37,666).
Even though NCRB refrain from providing any specific cause-wise explanation of the suicide numbers, but the ongoing pandemic undoubtedly plays a pivotal role in this.
Experts also believe that the after effects of demonetisation and the implementation of GST exacerbated during the pandemic.
In 2018 , two years after demonetisation and a year after the implementation of the GST, businesspersons suicide rose by three per cent. In the following year, businessperson suicides grew by 13 per cent compared.