Suicides in India grew by 3.4% in 2019 over the previous year, official data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed. A total of 1, 39, 123 Indians committed suicide during 2019, compared to 1, 34, 516 in 2018. It amounted to on average 381 suicides every day – or one suicide every 4 minutes. The rate of suicide (incidence of suicide per 1 lakh population) went up by 0.2 percentage points in 2019 vis-a-vis 2018. It marks the 2nd consecutive year that rate of suicide has gone up after successive years of downward shift.
The gender ratio among suicide victims in 2019 was approximately 70:30 for Males:Females. More than 2/3rd of male suicide victims (68.4%) were married while the same figure was 62.5% among female victims. Like last 3 years, in 2019 also, the top 5 states in terms of suicides were Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka with these 5 states together accounting for 49.5% of all suicides in the country during the year – down marginally from 51.0% share in 2018.
Daily wage earners continue to be the biggest group by profession among suicide victims – up from 22.4% in 2018 to 23.4% in 2019. Suicides among farming sector dropped marginally – from 7.7% in 2018 to 7.4% in 2019. Among the farming suicides, farmer suicides were 5957 and agri-laborer suicides were 4324. Together, farming and daily wage earners accounted for ~31% of all suicides in 2019 – or 1 in every 3.
The World Health Organization (WHO) rates suicides as a “serious public health problem” which it considers “preventable” with timely, evidence-based and often, low-cost interventions. The WHO calls on all national governments to adopt a comprehensive, multi-sectoral suicide prevention strategy to tackle this challenge.