In 2020, a year of economic crisis induced by the pandemic, suicides among “traders” increased by 50 percent – the highest among categories – compared to 2019, even as the broader business community compared farmers More such deaths were recorded.
According to the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 11,716 traders died by suicide in 2020 as compared to 10,677 farmers in the same year. Of these more than 11,000 deaths, 4,356 were of “merchants” and 4,226 “sellers”, the rest being classified as “other professions”.
These are the three groups that the NCRB classifies the business community when recording suicides.
Compared to 2019, suicides among the business community increased by 29 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, suicides among traders increased from 2,906 in 2019 to 4,356 in 2020 – a jump of 49.9 per cent.
Meanwhile, the total suicide figure in the country rose 10 per cent to 1,53,052, the highest ever.
Traditionally, the business community has always seen fewer such deaths than the farmers. During the pandemic, and the resultant lockdown, small businesses and traders suffered heavy losses, forcing many to close shutters or default on loans.
“In the Covid year, small businesses have been hit very badly. Till now it was believed that more farmers commit suicide due to crop failure and rising debt. But this shows that businessmen are no less stressed and the pandemic has made it worse,” said Anil Bhardwaj, general secretary, Federation of Indian Micro Small and Medium Enterprises. Naveen Bharat.