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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday (December 15) took the decision to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years. With this decision, the government will be bringing the age of marriage for both men and women at par. The Cabinet’s decision to raise the legal age of marriage for women is based on the recommendation of a panel led by Jaya Jaitly.
The proposal to raise the legal age for the marriage of women carries “enormous” economic and social gains for India, according to a State Bank of India report. The report counts benefits such as lowering maternal deaths and improving nutrition levels in the near term to putting more girls in college and enabling women to achieve greater financial independence in the long term.
Facts and figures about the prevalence of child marriage in India
Marriage laws in India
Factors leading to child marriage in India
(1) Social Factors
(2) Economic Factors
What is the Jaya Jaitly Committee?
Reasons behind the decision
In a landmark judgement of Dhannu Lal v. Ganeshram ,the Supreme Court ruled that two individuals cohabiting and staying in a live-in relationship are not criminal offenders. Raising the legal age of marriage for women will further promote live-in relationship culture.
Challenges in raising the legal age of marriage for women
(1) Need to address the root of the problems: While children born to adolescent mothers have a higher prevalence of stunting and low weight, experts argue that the underlying cause is poverty.
(2) Steps must be taken to address early pregnancies instead of focusing on the age of marriage by extending family planning and reproductive health support which focus on preparation for pregnancy and delaying the first birth.
(3) Improving educational reach: The answer to delaying child marriages lies in ensuring access to education since the practice is a social and economic issue.
(4) Increasing Accessibility to Schools: The government needs to look into increasing access to schools and colleges for girls, including their transportation to these institutes from far-flung areas.
(5) Need for the awareness programs: An awareness campaign is required on a massive scale on the increase in age of marriage, and to encourage social acceptance of the new legislation, which they have said would be far more effective than coercive measures.
By: VISHAL GOYAL ProfileResourcesReport error
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