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Issue of Child Marriages in India

Context

  • Recently, research by Young Lives in coordination with National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) revealed that Rajasthan has reported the highest incidence of child marriages.
  • The study was revealed by Justice A.K. Sikri of the Supreme Court.

Highlights of the Report

  • The study based on 2011 Census, stated that 2.5% of marriages of minor girls were reported in Rajasthan.
  • The other states with a high incidence of marriages of girls below the legal age are Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.
  • Rajasthan also topped in the percentage of boys marrying below the legal age of 21 (4.69%).
  • No marriage below 10 years of age was reported across the country.
  • According to the Census study, 12.9% of girls got married at the age of 10-17 years and 43.6% between 18-20 years.
  • However, only 4.9% of boys got married in the 10-17 years age group and 11.2 % in the 18-below 21 age group.
  • The study shows a minor decline of 0.1% in the marriage of minor girls.
  • The decline in rural India, between 2001 and 2011 Census was marginally higher than in the whole of the country.
  • However, the incidence of child marriage among girls increased substantially in urban India from 1.78% in 2001 to 2.45% in 2011.

Child Marriage in India: Reasons and Impact

Major Reasons for prevalence of Child Marriage in India Economies of marriage: Poverty and marriage expenses such as dowry may lead a family to marry off their daughter at a young age to reduce these costs. Patriarchal Indian society considers a girl as an economic burden. Marrying her off at an early age is away … Continue reading “Child Marriage in India: Reasons and Impact”

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Incentives and Schemes provided by the Government of India to end child marriage

  • Dhan Laxmi scheme
  • Apni Beti Apna Dhan Programme- conditional cash transfer program which aims at delaying early marriages of girls
  • Kishori Shakti Yojna
  • India as a member of the South Asian Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC) adopted a regional plan to end child marriage.
  • India is a part of UNFPA and UNICEF’s Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage.

Suggestions to combat the menace

  • Extending educational infrastructure especially in rural areas. Education for girls at least up to secondary level should be provided
  • Addressing the issue of gender biases
  • Extensive awareness and gender sensitization programs.
  • Empowering young people to criticize the existing social norms.
  • Integration of existing child laws in India.
  • Effective implementation of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006).
  • Consistency between personal laws and The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act should be established.

 

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