The plight of farm widows remains underreported due to lack of data, dearth of special focus on the gendered dimension of agrarian distress, policy paralysis and apathy of government. Women from suicide affected agricultural households suffer on multiple levels due to the burden of overwhelming debts, absence of skills and education, lack of access to social safety schemes and the general invisibility of women to the state, community and family. The Indian state, most affected by this dark and disturbing trend, is Maharashtra. Paradoxically, however, BJP’s electoral campaign for the recent Maharashtra Assembly Elections did not cover the agrarian crisis.
The Fatal Impact Of Debts
The decade long agrarian crisis in Maharashtra has resulted in an unprecedented number of female farmers committing suicide. According to government data accessed by Al Jazeera, 22 women farmers have committed suicide in the Amravati district alone since 2018. However, the fact that the Indian government is withholding data on this issue, shows that the crisis is much worse than what these numbers indicate.
According to the authorities, no gender segregated data is available for the 35 other districts of Maharashtra. The piling of huge debts due to unpredictable weather conditions,increasing farmer costs and low wages for farm produce is leading many women in Amravati to take their lives.
According to a 2018 study by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, 52.5 percent of all the…