In his addresal to the nation on Independence day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that a committee has been setup to reconsider the minimum age of marriage for women and appropriate action will be taken after a report is submitted.
The ministry of women and child development said that in a gadget notification issued on 4th June 2020, a task force was set up to examine the age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering maternal mortality rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), and nutritional levels and other health related issue on June 26. This commission was assisted by Niti Aayog. In addition to this, the commission has to suggest ways to encourage higher education and examine the impact of marital age on IMR and MMR.
A study by UNICEF shows 27% girls in India are married before their 18th birthday.This is the major reason behind anemia and malnutrition in under age mothers. Subsequently, a proposal had been made to change the minimum marriage age for women from 18 to 21. Maternal mortality rate and health of the young Indian mothers being the prime concern.
Earlier, the women’s age for marriage was changed from 15 to 18 years in 1978 by amending the Sharda Act, 1929. Following this, today the legal age for girls is 18 and that for boys is 21. The prime minister, however in his speech hinted the country the government’s consideration about revising upward the legal age of marriage for girls, by saying “To end malnutrition among girls, to assess what should be the age of marriage, we have set-up a committee.”