HYDERABAD: Not much has improved in the Telugu states when it comes to the female Suicide Death Rate (SDR) in the last 26 years, shows a new report by the Lancet Health Journal titled, “Gender differentials and state variations in suicide deaths in India”. The report which is one in the series of it’s Global Burden of Disease Study for years 1990-2016 highlights that a majority of the world’s female suicide deaths come from India, amounting to 4 Indian women dying in every 10 women who commit suicide globally.
The study that reflects NCRB data from 1990 and 2016 of each of the states, specifically highlights the sorry state of affairs for the Telugu States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana where the SDR is pegged at 19.8 and 21 per 1 lakh women. This makes AP and TS the 5th and 6th worst states in the entire country respectively, where the average rate of suicide deaths has been 14.9 per 1 lakh women.
Being dramatically higher than the national average, the study points that the state’s poor performance in tackling the menacing issue has been so bad that it would not be able to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 which mandate the suicide rates have to be reduced by 1/3rd.
To give a perspective on how bad these numbers are, the study shows how India’s contribution to Global suicides among women increased from 25.3% in 1990 to 36% in 2016. This despite the fact that the overall suicide rates fell from 19.4 to 14.9, implying that globally suicide rates fell, including in India, however India’s drop in suicide rates wasn’t good enough when compared to the rest of the world. The study says, “The findings highlight that suicide death rates were higher in India than the global average in 2016, and most States had rate much higher than would be expected for their Socio-demographic Index level.”
The worst among the States has been the southern State of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka who take away the first two spots, with an SDR of 26.9 and 25.1. It is followed by West Bengal and Tripura.The study termed suicide as a public health crisis because majority of the victims were young women compared to the old and it was the leading cause of death among young adults. “ Young adults are taking their own lives in alarmingly high numbers... Suicide ranks first as the cause of death in India in both the age groups of 15-29 years and 15-39 years, as compared with its second and third rank globally in these age groups, respectively.”
Kalpana Kannabiran, Professor & Regional Director of Council for Social Developmental says the trends suggest a major roll back of what we perceived as challenges to women’s issues. “It seems to be more than one factor coming together to make it an hostile environment for women. Initially we thought it is lack of education that creates a major part of the issue. But it is linked to a host of factors like child marriage, conservatism, educated women being forced into domestic roles among others are making women to find death a more secular choice than life.”
Comparison of female SDR
SDR Globally (2016)
6 in 1 lakh women
SDR in Telangana (1990)-
29 in 1 lakh women
SDR in Telangana (2016)- 19.8 in 1 lakh women
SDR in AP (1990)- 27.9 in 1 lakh women
SDR in AP (2016)-
21 in 1 lakh women
Telangana and AP are 3.49 and 3.70 times higher than the expected rate of suicide for their social development levels.
Total suicides in India in 2016 - 2,30,314
Global suicide in 2016 - 817,000