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Exemplary effort to end child marriages

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    29th Sep, 2022

Child Marriages in India

  • Child marriage, according to the Indian law, is a marriage where either the woman or man is below the age of 21.
  • Estimates vary widely between sources as to the extent and scale of child marriages. A 2015–2016 UNICEF report estimated that India's child marriage rate is 27%.
  • The Census of India has counted and reported married women by age, with proportion of females in child marriage falling in each 10 year census period since 1981.

Context

In Odhisha’s Navagarh district, the administration has launched the ‘Aliva programme’ to keep a record of all adolescent girls in the district to come across the information regarding their child marriage and its prevention.

Background

  • Child Marriages are still prevalent in the region and seen as a part of their social life.Under Aliva Programme, the following features were included;
  • Anganwadi workers had been asked to identify every adolescent girl in their jurisdiction.
  • The 100-page register maintains a record of the girl along with the name of her father.
  • Data of the adolescent girl including, address, education status, birth registration date, Aadhaar Card Number, contact details and family details is to be noted.
  • The age of the girl should be approved by the local school head master, father, supervisor and child marriage prohibition officer (CMPO).
  • Also, information about child marriage, educational progress, skill training status and health issues of the adolescent girls is registered.
  • The programme is targeted to be implemented for 10 years from 2020 to 2030 under Odisha government’s child marriage prevention strategy.

Analysis

What are the laws related to prohibition of Child Marriage?

  • The Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929: The Child Marriage Restraint Act, also called the Sarda Act, was a law to restrict the practice of child marriage.
    • This Act defined the age of marriage to be 18 for males and 14 for females.
    • In 1949, after India's independence, the minimum age was increased to 15 for females, and in 1978, it was increased again for both females and males, to 18 and 21 years, respectively.
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006: The Act aims to address and fix the shortcomings of the Child Marriage Restraint Act.

What are the causes of early marriages of children in India?

  • Lack of Literacy
  • Poverty of Family
  • Norms associated to fertility
  • Wrong perception of providing social security to daughters from societal offences than an unmarried woman.

Impacts of Child marriage

Possible Solutions

  • Early Pregnancy-Health complications
  • Fall in High Fertility Age Group
  • Inabilities to Plan or Manage Families
  • Desire for Male Child
  • Increase in crime against women like martial rape
  • Lack of literacy among women
  • Less economic empowerment
  • Promoting girls education
  • Strengthen the role of the judicial system
  • Stringent laws against crime against women and minors
  • Community participation
  • Incentives for parents and families who oppose against the societal norms related to child marriage or dowry.
  • Awareness about concerns of early marriages.
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