About 8,761 people "died by suicide due to unemployment, bankruptcy or indebtedness in the year 2020," junior home minister Nityanand Rai informs Parliament.
Nearly 9,000 people in India ended their lives in 2020 due to unemployment and financial difficulties amid the sudden lockdown that the country imposed during the first wave of the coronavirus, according to government data.
Speaking at Parliament, Junior Minister of Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said 8,761 people "died by suicide due to unemployment, bankruptcy or indebtedness in the year 2020."
A total of 25,251 people in the country had ended their own lives between 2018 and 2020 because of the financial crisis, Rai added.
More than 17,000 farmers ended their lives between 2018 and 2020, the minister said.
The government has also underlined that it launched various employment and income generation initiatives.
Burden of mental disorders
The Home Ministry has said that its flagship programmes, including domestic production, digitalisation, cleanliness, smart cities, housing, infrastructure, and industry, have the potential to boost productive employment opportunities.
"To address the burden of mental disorders, the government is implementing the National Mental Health Program (NMHP) and is supporting the implementation of the District Mental Health Program (DMHP) under NMHP in 692 districts of the country," said a recent statement by the government.
It underlined that these programmes aim to provide suicide prevention services, workplace stress management, life skills training and counseling in schools and colleges, along with mental health services from prevention to long-term care.
Study suggests nearly 5 million deaths
India's official Covid-19 death toll crossed 500,000 last week, a level some data analysts said was breached last year but was obscured by inaccurate surveys and unaccounted dead in the hinterlands, where millions remain vulnerable to the disease.
A study by a US research group last year suggested that anywhere between 3.4 million and 4.7 million people had died.
For months now, several states have been reconciling their death toll and adding "backlog" deaths as India's Supreme Court ordered state authorities to provide compensation to families.
Kerala, Bihar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat are among those to have added thousands of old deaths to their existing tolls.