Economic Prosperity and Suicide Rates

Interesting observations in a report which tries to highlight that Suicide rates and economic prosperity of a state may be directly proportional. Bihar figures low on development parameters as compare to other state but the suicides rates in Bihar continues to be lowest despite the high percentage of its population living below the poverty line. Where as Southern states which have high growth rates continue to have high suicide rates and account for 47 per cent of the total suicides.

According to a study by the voluntary organisation Sneha, the state accounts for only 1.7 per cent of India’s suicides. Uttar Pradesh comes second at 4.8 per cent, and Kerala, India’s most literate state, rules the chart as before with 25.9 per cent.

Forty per cent of Bihar’s 83 million population lives below the poverty line, the highest national figure and the migration level is high. The study concludes that the general hardship and the average Bihari’s high endurance could have much to do with the low figure. According to the report, most of the 154,000 annual suicides in India are of those below the age of 40 – and most of them youngsters.

Southern states account for 47 per cent of the total suicides. Last year Tamil Nadu reported 11,000. Pondicherry, too, shows a rising trend with 57 people out of every 100,000 taking their own lives.

Among the factors cited are increasing alcoholism, mental illness, crime, domestic violence, migration, consumerism, indebtedness, competitiveness and unemployment. All these have pushed up the country’s suicide rate from 6.7 per 100,000 in 1975 to 10.4 this year.

Looking at the factors which contributes to high Suicide rates one may infer that despite all odds Bihar scores well on social harmony front.It also speaks a lot about the resilience and fortitude of Bihari people who have the gumptions and fortutude to brave odds and survive.

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