Rural Distress, Farmer Suicides, Drought Measures

Behavioural aspect of farmer suicidesDOMRPriority 1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Strategies to combat farmer's distress in India



  • Farmer suicides, which have till now been studied economically and agriculturally, are now being looked at from behavioural and psychological angles.

Study on farmer’s suicide

  • A study is being conducted under the National Agricultural Science Fund of IICAR in three states — Punjab, Telangana and Maharashtra.
  • Till now the issue of farmer suicide was being looked at only from economic and agricultural angles.
  • The study has looked at it from behavioural, psychological and cultural perspectives in addition to the earlier two.

Major causes of suicide

  • Since most discussions and parleys on suicides are overtaken by issues of crop failures, rising debts, new farming techniques, the psychological aspect is largely ignored.
  • One of the major causes behind suicidal intent is depression, found the researchers.
  • It needs to be understood that at times a farmer under a debt of Rs 2 lakh shows a tendency to end his life, while another under a debt of Rs 10 lakh does not.

Need of the hour: Psychological assistance

  • The study suggested roping in psychologists and counselors on various issues.
  • They included battling depressive ruminations, suicidal ideations, negative cognitions, hopelessness, helplessness.
  • It aimed at recognising and managing stressors like financial distress, relationship problems, and enhancing psychological resources through emotional well being, and mindfulness.

Model of 7’s

  • The researchers developed a ‘7D’ model of triggering and confounding factors and a ‘7R’ model of preventive and protecting factors to deal with the problem of farmer suicides.

‘7D’ model

It encapsulates:

  1. Drugs,
  2. Debt,
  3. Disease,
  4. Disputes,
  5. Depression,
  6. Disrepute and
  7. Death

 ‘7R’ model

It looks at prevention of suicides. It consists:

  1. Remunerative agriculture,
  2. Resilience building,
  3. Rational expenditure,
  4. Reassurance through connectivity,
  5. Righteous conduct,
  6. Religious support and
  7. Responsible reporting

Way forward

  • Farmers don’t need money only, they need motivation too.
  • Along with subsidies, increased farm profits, the focus should also be on resilience building and problem solving skills of farming families.
  • In suicide-prone states, agricultural institutes and scientists should start distributing seeds of resilience, tolerance and contentment among farmers, suggested researchers.
  • Agri universities can play a powerful role in dissipating the culture of shame associated with mental illness and depression as it is the fear of stigma that acts as a barrier to seek appropriate treatment.

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