India Witness An Increase In Suicide Rates

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India saw an increase in suicide rates in 2020 with the country recording total of 1,53,052 suicides, according to the latest annual report on Accident Deaths and Suicides.

The statistics released for 2020 on October 28, 2021, showed an increase of ten per cent in 2020 when compared to 2019. Maharashtra with 19,909 suicides reported the highest suicide cases followed by Tamil Nadu (16,883 cases), Madhya Pradesh (14,578 cases), West Bengal (13,103 case) and Karnataka (12,259 cases). These five states together accounted for 50.1 per cent of the total suicides reported in the country.


Most populous state of Uttar Pradesh reported the lowest percentage share of suicidal deaths. The state accounted for just 3.1 per cent of the total suicides reported in the country. Delhi, which is the most-populous UT, reported the highest number of suicides (3,142) among UTs, followed by Puducherry(408). A total of 23,855suicide cases were reported in the 53 mega cities.


The Rate of suicides (number of suicides per one lakh population) in the country stood at 11.3 in 2020. In this category, Andaman and Nicobar Islands had the highest rate of suicide (45.0) followed by Sikkim (42.5), Chhattisgarh (26.4), Puducherry (26.3), and Kerala (24.0)


Family Problems and Illness were reported to be the major causes of suicide in India. Family Problems accounted for 33.6 per cent and Illness caused 18 per cent of total suicides respectively during 2020. Drug Abuse/Addiction (6.0%), Marriage Related Issues (5.0%), Love Affairs (4.4%), Bankruptcy or Indebtedness (3.4%), Unemployment (2.3%), Failure in Examination (1.4%), Professional/Career Problem (1.2%) and Poverty (1.2%) are the causes of suicides.


Housewives accounted for 50.3 percent of the total female victims (22,372 out of 44,498) and constitute nearly 14.6 percent of total victims who committed suicides. Government servants accounted for 1.3 percent (2,057) as compared to 6.6 percent (10,166) from Private Sector Enterprises out of 1,53,052 of total victims.

The Statistics notes that proportion of female victims were more in Marriage Related Issues (specifically in Dowry Related Issues), and Impotency/Infertility. The age group (18 -below 30 years) and persons of 30 years -below 45 years of age were the most vulnerable groups resorting to suicides, the report pointed out. These age groups accounted for 34.4 percent and 31.4 percent suicides respectively.

Among suicides in Children below 18 years of age, the report states that Family Problems (4,006), Love Affairs (1,337) and Illness (1,327) were the main causes.  Students and un-employed victims accounted for 8.2 percent and 10.2 percent of total suicides respectively. Self-employed category accounted for 11.3 percent of total suicide victims.


A total of 10,677persons involved in farming sector (consisting of 5,579 farmers/cultivators and 5,098 agricultural labourers) committed suicide in 2020, the annual report stated. This accounted for seven percent of total suicides victims in the country. Out of 5,579 farmer/cultivator suicides, a total of 5,335 were male and 244 were female. Out of 5,098 suicides committed by agricultural labourers during 2020, 4,621 were male and 477were female. West Bengal, Bihar, Nagaland, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Delhi UT, Ladakh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry reported zero suicides of Farmers/Cultivators as well as Agricultural Labourers, the report stated.

The report also mentioned that 22 transgender committed suicide.


Madhya Pradesh recorded the majority of suicides committed by housewives (3,185) followed by Maharashtra (2,570) and Tamil Nadu (2,557). Majority of suicides committed by government servants were reported in Maharashtra (299). This was followed by Tamil Nadu(269), Karnataka (181), Madhya Pradesh (181) and Rajasthan (112). Majority of suicides committed by persons engaged in Private Sector Enterprises were reported in Maharashtra (1,702), Tamil Nadu (1,536), Karnataka (1,006), Gujarat (900) and Madhya Pradesh (691),

With respect to student suicides, Maharashtra that recorded 1,648 suicides was on top of the table. Odisha with 1,469 suicides followed next. Madhya Pradesh reported 1,158 suicides, Tamil Nadu 930 and Jharkhand recorded 704 suicides.

Majority of suicides committed by un-employed persons were in Maharashtra, 11.3% in Kerala, 10.0% in Tamil Nadu, 8.9% in Odisha and 8.6% in Karnataka Majority of suicides committed by persons engaged in business activities were reported from Karnataka (15.1%), Maharashtra (13.7% Tamil Nadu(12.4%), Madhya Pradesh (7.8%) and Odisha(6.4%).

With respect to farming sector, Maharashtra stood on top with 37.5 per cent of suicides. Karnataka with 18.9 per cent of the deaths came next followed by Andhra Pradesh (8.3 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (6.9 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (5.0 per cent).


Social Status of victims is classified in seven categories — Un-married, Married, Widowed/Widower, Divorcee, Separated, Others and Status Not Known. The report points out that 66.1 per cent of the suicide victims were married while 24.0 per cent were un-married. Widowed/Widower, Divorcees and Separated accounted for 1.6 per cent, 0.5 per cent and 0.6 per cent of total suicide victims during 2020.


The annual report finds that 63.3 per cent of suicide victims in2020 were having annual income of less than `Rs one lakh. Meanwhile, 32.2 per cent had annual income between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.


The maximum numbers of suicide victims (23.4%) were educated up to Matriculation/ Secondary level, whereas Middle level educated accounted for 19.5%, Primary educated (15.8%, Higher Secondary/ Intermediate/Pre-University educated (15.9%) and Illiterate (12.6%). Only 4.0 per cent of total suicide victims were graduates and above.


About 57.8 percent of the suicides were committed by hanging, followed by consuming Poison (25 percent), Drowning (5.2 percent) and Fire/Self-Immolation (3.0 percent). , The number of male victims was more than females in all means of suicide except those who committed suicides by Fire/Self-immolation where share of female victims was more.


The country recorded 121 cases of mass/family suicides in 2020. In these suicides, a total of 272persons, comprising of 148 married persons and 124 unmarried persons lost their lives. Tamil Nadu reported the maximum cases (22cases) followed by Andhra Pradesh (19cases), Madhya Pradesh (18 cases), Rajasthan (15 cases) and Assam (10 cases).


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