Suicides in India up 400 percent in 50 years: Study

New Delhi: The number of suicides in India in a year has risen 400 percent in 50 years and the suicide rate per 100,000 population exceeds 11 percent, a study said Wednesday.

"The number of suicides has increased from 33,625 in 1964 to 134,799 in 2013, which is a 400 percent increase in 50 years," Mumbai-based NGO Vaastav Foundation said in a statement.

Sep 10 is observed as World Suicide Prevention Day every year to highlight the alarming increase in suicides.

Its paper "Explorative study showing Indian suicide rates reported over 50 years" said the rate of suicide per 100,000 population has increased from 7.1 percent to 11 percent during this period and the highest of 11.4 percent was in 2010.

Quoting the National Crime Record Bureau reports, the NGO said suicide in India is treated as a crime rather than as a mental illness, which creates hurdles in getting emergency relief for victims.

It said the total number of suicides has decreased overall from 135,585 in 2011 to 134,799 in 2013 but at the same time, there has been an increase of suicides by males from 87,839 to 90,543 during this period.

The total number of women committing suicides was 47,746 in 2011 and 44,256 in 2013 with a significant 9.5 percent decrease in the married women category from 32,582 to 29,491.

The gender ratio within the married category points that more than twice the number of married men (64,098 in 2013) committed suicide against women (29,491 in 2013), the study said.

It attributed family problems and illness as the main reasons for committing suicides, with the two accounting for 25 percent and 20 percent of total suicides.

"India should have a national strategy for suicide prevention in line with 28 other countries that have successfully implemented it," Vaastav Foundation president Amit Deshpande said.

Bangalore-based Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP) president Kumar V. Jahgirdar told IANS: "It's a shame that maximum suicides of the world occur in India. It's also more unfortunate that married men are committing suicides due to domestic violence. It's mainly due to gender-biased family laws."

He said the government should take immediate steps to prevent suicides by setting up a national commission for men on the lines of the National Commission of Women to look into the problems faced by married men.

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