Suicides due to bankruptcy, indebtness or unemployment in 2020 up 43% from 2018

The number of people who died by suicide in 2018-2020 due to unemployment stood at 9,140.
Men with bags walking in a line, photo taken from behind
Men with bags walking in a line, photo taken from behind
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Over 16,000 people have died by suicide due to bankruptcy or indebtness between 2018 and 2020, the Union govenrment said in an answer on Wednesday, February 9. Due to unemployment, the deaths by suicide during the same time period stood at 9,140. Suicides in 2020 went up by 43% from 2018 due to bankruptcy, indebtedness or unemployment. 

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said 5,213 people died by suicide due to bankruptcy or indebtedness in 2020, 5,908 in 2019 and 4,970 in 2018. Deaths due to unemployment stood at 3,548 in 2020, 2,851 in 2019 and 2,741 in 2018.

The Union government had cited data from the National Crime Records Bureau which was released in October 2021. NCRB data showed that the most suicides due to unemployment was in Karnataka with 720 deaths, Maharashtra with 625 deaths and Tamil Nadu with 336 deaths.

As per the PLFS report of 2019-20, the unemployment rate for persons of 15 years and above on a usual status basis in urban areas was 6.9% which was 7.6% in 2018-19 and 7.7% in 2017-18.

Minister of Labour And Employment Bhupender Yadav cited PLFS data in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, February 10, and said that the unemployment rate was 6% in 2017-18, 5.8% in 2018-19 and 4.8% in 2019-20.

“As per the Economic Survey 2021-22 analysis on impact of COVID19 pandemic on the labour market using quarterly PLFS reports for urban areas available till March, 2021, before the outbreak of COVID19, the urban labour market had shown signs of improvement…However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the first quarter of 2020-21, the unemployment rate for urban sector rose to 20.8%,” he said in another answer. 

Data from the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) for 2017-18, which had been published in 2019 after controversy, showed that unemployment in the country was at a 45-year-high of 6.1%.

An analysis by the Centre for Economic Data and Analysis said that data shows that over the last few years, “as unemployment has risen and labour force participation has fallen, employment opportunities for India’s youth have especially worsened.”

Opposition members in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday hit out at the government over high unemployment rate and said the Union Budget 2022-23 failed to address the issue of job creation and increasing domestic demand.

Dola Sen of the Trinamool Congress said when the Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power in 2014, it claimed that it would create 2 crore jobs per year and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech this year said that the government would create 60 lakh jobs over the next five years. "I want to ask who is telling the truth?" Sen said. 

"In just four years of time, 2016-17 to 2020-21, in spite of Modiji's Make in India policy, and call and push, the number of people employed in the manufacturing sector (has) reduced by almost half," she asserted.

The fund allocation of MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) has been decreased, Sen lamented, adding that there is a due of Rs 3,358 crore of wages still to be paid to MGNREGA workers "who get employment for only 100 days in a year".

DMK MP Kanimozhi pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the plight of the poor and marginalised, led to job losses, and hit sectors like tourism and hospitality and "the road to recovery is still very bleak".

BJP MP Tejasvi Surya on Wednesday, February 9, claimed in the Lok Sabha that the argument of increase in unemployment in the country put forth by the Opposition was "baseless and logicless".

"If the size of the economy, if the number of unicorns has increased multiple times, if there are more investments, how can there be no employment generation," Surya said. He said the Congress party and its dynasty leaders were confusing their political unemployment as the unemployment of the country. "Those who are hardworking, talented, meritorious, young people coming from modest backgrounds have enough number of opportunities," he argued. 

With inputs from PTI

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.

Tamil Nadu

State health department's suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh

Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584


Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222


Maithri: 0484 2540530

Chaithram: 0484 2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.


State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104

Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200

SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm

Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.    

24x7 Helpline: 9820466726 

Click here for working helplines across India.

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