There is some good news for the female progeny, following the cabinet’s approval on increasing the marriageable age of females to 21. The government is on its way to introducing an amendment to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006. Apart from that, there are talks about amending the Special Marriage Act and Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.
It has already been a year after PM Narendra Modi had announced in an Independence address back in 2020. The Union Cabinet Ministry passed a new amendment to increase the marriage age of women from 18-21. More amendments will follow suit. Niti Aayog, in December last, had received recommendations on such changes. It also has a direct co-relation with motherhood and maternal mortality rates. Apart from these, the law and acts subsequently also impact maternal nutritional levels.
The Stand on The Subject
Jaya Jaitley, who heads the central task force, has made it clear to the press that this decision is not related to population control. The nation’s research has already shown that the fertility rate is on the decline, and the population is already under control. The main idea behind this decision is woman empowerment. Jaitley is the former president of the Samata Party. The same decision has been taken ashen after many rounds of discussions with consultants.
The decision is backed by studies from 16 universities and over 15 NGOs researching young people in rural and marginalized societies. Rajasthan is one of the states where child marriage was rampant. Society has been studied in detail, following the same. Adults in the age group of 20-23were interviewed, and then conclusions were obtained on this subject.
The task force behind this was set up in June 2020. Niti members and WCD members are part of the panel. They have recommended many public awareness camps to educate the masses in these societies about the repercussions of early marriages.
Recommendations and Action Plan
Public camps are being organized in various states where child marriage is rampant. Moreover, the task force has also asked for the education of school level and university level girls. Sex education has also been made compulsory in various schools and institutions. Moreover, the government is stressing the education of girls. The main aim is to train the girls and make them financially dependant.
Quoted – ‘Section 5(III) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 mentions 18 yrs as the minimum age for the bride, and 21 yrs for the groom. And the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 states that 18 and 21 yrs are the minimum age for marriage for women and men, respectively.’
As India progresses further, more such amendments will come into force to uplift women. This is what Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman said in the Budget speech20-2021. She also stated that the age was 15-18 years earlier. This seems to be a new era for the girls and women of Indian society.