The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, December 15, cleared the proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21, bringing it at par with the men. A year ago, Prime Minister Modi mentioned the proposal in his Independence day speech, 2020.
According to NDTV, the Prime Minister in his speech had hinted about the concerns pertaining to the 'health of daughters and sisters in the country'.
"To save the daughters from malnutrition, they must be married at the right age," he had stated.
Following the directives of the proposals, sources said that the Centre will amend the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 as well as the Special Marriage Act and the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, to solidify the proposal.
Proposal To Bring Positive Changes In Society
Presently the minimum marriage age for men is 21, but it was 18 for women.
The clearance of the proposal was backed by recommendations of the NITI Aayog task force headed by Jaya Jaitly. The task force, in its recommendation, pressed on the need that women must be at least 21 years old at the time of their first pregnancy. The proposal also aims at positive changes in individuals' financial, social, and health aspects due to delayed marriages.
UNICEF On Child Marriage In India
According to the data released by UNICEF, one in three world's child brides lives in India. Of the country's 223 million child brides, 102 million were married before turning 15.
Over half of Indian child brides live in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra. Uttar Pradesh is home to the most significant number of child brides, with 36 million. As a consequence of early marriage, the child brides give birth as adolescents and have larger families than the women marry later. To cease this rampant practice across the country, four times progress is needed compared to the last ten years to eliminate child marriage by 2030.
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