The latest data points to a grim reality, where daily wage earners, among the poorest on the economic ladder, are taking their own lives at an unprecedented scale, despite several social security schemes.

(NCRB) report Findings:

  • A staggering 25,164 daily wage earners took their own lives in 2016, the highest share of suicides among all occupational groups.
  • The number is 5.7?ove the previous year’s 23,799, and is more than double the 11,379 suicides by farmers and agricultural labourers recorded during 2016
  • Between 2014 and 2016, suicides by daily wage earners rose to 25,164 from 15,735, an increase of 60%.

ADSI Report findings also confirm to NCRB data:

  • The “Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India" (ADSI) report, published recently showed that the number of suicides by daily wage earners surpassed the number of suicides by housewives for the second year in a row in 2016. Till 2014, housewives accounted for the highest number of suicides.
  • According to the ADSI report, daily wage earners accounted for 19.2%, or nearly a fifth of all suicides recorded in 2016, far surpassing those engaged in agriculture (8.7%) and housewives (16.5%). 
  • The data further shows that among states, Tamil Nadu accounted for the highest number of suicides by daily wage earners (4,888), followed by Maharashtra (3,168).


Possible Reasons

  • A possible explanation for the distress among daily wage earners could lie in the non-farm sector’s linkages to the farm sector.
  • Consecutive years of drought in 2014 and 2015 likely increased the supply of labour to the non-farm sector, impacting wages and availability of work.
  • Another possibility is, state governments classifying suicides in the farm sector as those of daily wage earners, to limit the political fallout of farmer suicides.

For example: nine states, including West Bengal, Bihar and Haryana, reported zero suicides by farmers in 2016.