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  • ଓଡ଼ିଆରେ ପଢନ୍ତୁ
Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • When overall suicides in Odisha had risen by around 36 percent, suicides by unemployed had grown by  253 percent between 2015-2020
  • The State had recorded 15 suicides every day last year, nearly 8 were by the economically distressed populace.

Are suicides in Odisha triggered by economic distress? Every day as many as 8 suicides in Odisha were by unemployed, self employed and daily wagers. The ground reality tells a larger tale because, in the last 5-year period, suicides by the economically underprivileged had shown a drastic rise in the State.

The trend on the ground assumes significance when it is seen in tandem with the latest data available in the E-Shraam portal that a whopping 94 percent of workers in the unorganised sector in the State could earn less than 10K, which has been the 2nd lowest per month income in the country.

Distress Trend?    

As per the NCRB 2020 report of Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India, when the State had recorded 15 suicides every day last year, nearly 8 were by the economically distressed populace.

With around 9 in every 100 suicides, last year in the State were by the unemployed, Odisha finished 4th in the country. The State saw 1398 suicides by unemployed vis-a-vis 858 in 2019. Suicides by the unemployed class in the State is up by nearly 64 percent in 2020, though the Odisha government had attributed only 6 suicides due to the cause of unemployment.

However, a look at the suicide data by the economic security, the revelation is big. A total of 2785 suicides from a total of 5546 were from the economically distressed sections of the society. The number of suicides in the self-employed category stood at 1113 in 2020. And a total of 274 daily wagers had committed suicide in Odisha last year.

A study of the last 5-year data shows the trend of higher unemployed suicides in the State had started from the year 2019. The number of suicides by the unemployed in Odisha in 2018 was only 280 and the total suicides in the year stood at 4592.

But in the year 2019, the suicide count by unemployed in the State had risen by over 200 percent to touch 858, though the total suicides tally saw a marginal drop to 4582.

The number of suicides by the unemployed in Odisha in 2015 was 395 when the total suicides in the year were 4087.

The Key Takeaways

When overall suicides in Odisha had risen by around 36 percent, suicides by unemployed had grown by  253 percent between 2015-2020. The trend cannot be fully attributed to pandemics alone, because in 2019, the suicides by unemployed had posted an over 200 percent growth. The growth rate in 2020 had been around 64 percent.

Moreover, the number of suicides by self-employed in the State in 2015 was 521. The count in 2018 was 894. But in 2019, the total number of suicides in the category of self-employed in Odisha grew to 1456. During the pandemic year 2020, the count dropped to 1,113.

The above number graph clearly shows that economic distress had hit the self-employment and unemployed sections in Odisha in 2019 itself, much before the onset of the pandemic.

Above all, when in 2015, only 29 percent of suicides in Odisha were by unemployed, self-employed and daily wagers, the share went up to 30 per cent in 2018. But in 2019, the total share of these economically vulnerable sections had been a massive 58 percent.

In the pandemic hit year 2020, suicides by unemployed, self-employed and daily wagers in Odisha accounted for over 50 percent of total suicides in the State.

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