Over 15,000 farmers commit suicide in central India in 13 years
"As many as 15,129 farmers and the people associated with farming have killed themselves in the last 13 years, ending December 2016," Madhya Pradesh's Home Minister Bhupendra Singh told the state assembly Wednesday.
India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has been governing the state since December 2003.
At least six farmers were killed in police firing in Madhya Pradesh last month when their protests demanding loan waivers and better prices for their produce turned violent.
Unseasonal rainfall, hailstorms and even drought often destroy crops, putting strain on impoverished farmers and driving many of them to kill themselves.
In 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that "for several years, farmers' suicide has been a cause of worry for the nation."
"The problem is old, deep-rooted and widespread and we have to seek solutions in that context.
"There should be a collective resolve in this regard. We have an open mind to consider any suggestion that is made," Modi said. ■