HomeIndiaIndia plans to raise legal age of marriage for women to 21

India plans to raise legal age of marriage for women to 21

The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 on Wednesday, a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated the measure was under review.

The notion was mentioned by Prime Minister Modi during his Independence Day speech last year.

“The health of daughters and sisters is a continual concern for our government. To protect the daughters from starvation, they must marry at the appropriate age “According to the Prime Minister.

At present, men must be 21 years old to marry, while women must be 18 years old.

To put the plan into reality, the government is considering amending the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act, and the Hindu Marriage Act.

The plan was backed by an NITI Aayog work team led by Jaya Jaitly.

The task team, which was formed in June of last year, included top government experts VK Paul, senior officials from the Health Ministry, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and the Law Ministry.

The task panel highlighted that a woman must be at least 21 years old at the time of her first pregnancy in its recommendations, which were submitted in December. Marriage postponement has a favourable financial, social, and health impact on families, society, and children, according to the report.

Experts have been opposed to raising the marriage age for two reasons. To begin with, the law intended to prevent child marriages is ineffective. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5, child marriage has decreased slightly from 27 percent in 2015-16 to 23 percent in 2019-20. However, the drop in NFHS 4 from 47 percent in NFHS 3 was substantial.

The marriage age was set at 18 in 1978, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that child marriage began to fall, as the government emphasised elementary education for girls and took steps to reduce poverty. Experts say that girls being dragged out of school to be married off is exaggerated; generally, a girl kid drops out after elementary school due to a lack of access to higher education and is then married off.

Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan praised the move, saying, “This is a wise choice. This will allow the girls to devote more time to their studies. They will be able to be self-sufficient. They will have more job opportunities as well.”

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