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SCOTT JAGOW: In India, the cities are booming, but the rural areas are getting more desperate. In one state, more than 600 farmers have killed themselves so far this year. Miranda Kennedy reports.

MIRANDA KENNEDY: The suicide rate among cotton farmers in central India has tripled in the last decade.

Their small, inefficient farms are unable to compete in global markets, and India's rural economy doesn't offer many other options. So many Maharastra farmers end up owing money.

Economist Surabhi Mittal says farmers were urged to buy more expensive genetically modified cotton seeds, and then this season, their crops failed anyway.

SURABHI MITTAL: They have their own problems of being in debt. There is a drought, but there is also the failure of the hybrid variety of that cotton that was planted in.

India's prime minister recently pledged a billion dollars to farmers in Maharastra.

In New Delhi, I'm Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.