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Over 25,000 Indians Committed Suicide Due to Unemployment, Indebtedness Between 2018-2020 – Govt

  • According to the NCRB data, suicides among the unemployed have been increasing and touched the highest (3,548) in the pandemic year of 2020

As the issue of unemployment is being discussed in Parliament during the debate on Union Budget, the Union government on Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that more than 25,000 Indians died by suicide due to either unemployment or indebtedness between 2018 and 2020.

As many as 9,140 people died by suicide due to unemployment and 16,091 people due to bankruptcy or indebtedness during the time period, the government told the upper house.

The information was provided by Minister of State (Home) Nityanand Rai in a written reply to a question on the issue in Rajya Sabha. Rai said that the government figures are based on data provided by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

According to the data, suicides among the unemployed have been increasing and touched the highest (3,548) in the pandemic year of 2020. While 2,741 ended life due to unemployment in 2018, 2,851 did so in 2019.

The trend of deaths due to indebtedness, however, was not the same. While in 2018, 4,970 died by suicide due to bankruptcy, in 2019 the figure increased to 5,908. In 2020, it dropped by over 600 deaths to 5,213.

During the ongoing budget session, the issue of unemployment has been raised multiple times by various opposition MPs who have alleged that the budget provides little to deal with the issue facing the country in the wake of Covid-19.

Rai on Wednesday said the government was looking to address the issue by focusing on mental health and creating employment opportunities.

“To address the burden of mental disorders, the Government is implementing the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) and is supporting the implementation of the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) under NMHP in 692 districts of the country,” Rai said.

“The programme aims to provide suicide prevention services, workplace stress management, life skills training and counselling in schools and colleges; mental health services including prevention, promotion and long-term continuing care at different levels of district healthcare delivery system and promote community awareness and participation in the delivery of mental healthcare services,” he added.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi recently attacked the government on the issue saying that unemployment in the country is the highest in the past 50 years. He had said that while the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had pulled 27 crore people out of poverty in 10 years, the NDA government under Narendra Modi had pushed 23 crore people back into poverty.

Rai on Wednesday said the government had launched several programmes for employment and income generation through the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY), The National Career Service (NCS) project for job seekers and employers for job-matching, Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana, Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana with substantial outlays.

“Flagship programmes of the government such as Make in India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat Mission, Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, Housing for All, Infrastructure development and Industrial corridors which have the potential to generate productive employment opportunities,” he said.

He pointed out that the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in the key sectors for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports would also generate employment opportunities.

Initiating the discussion on Budget 2022-23 on February 7 in Lok Sabha, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had said that the budget had betrayed the hopes and aspirations of the people.

“The expectation was that the government would acknowledge the unprecedented levels of unemployment which has left countless citizens, especially the young, with little prospect for a brighter tomorrow. Admit that one-fifth of India’s population has plunged a staggering 53 per cent in the last five years in their income,” Tharoor had said.

Tharoor had said that while the wealth of the richest 100 Indians had soared to Rs 57 lakh crore, 4.7 crore Indians had slipped to extreme poverty below the poverty line.

“The unemployment rate is pegged at 6.75 per cent as of January. This is a welcome improvement from 7.9 per cent in the previous month. It is still higher than the worst unemployment rate in the country in the past 45 years. India’s unemployment rate has grown faster than Bangladesh and Vietnam. In the last two years, 84 per cent of households have suffered a loss of income even as per capita income has fallen,” Tharoor had said.

First published in The Indian Express,

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