ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Not Made in Heaven

Not Made in Heaven

The political class and society are yet to work together against child marriage.

The practice of child marriage in India is a perfect case study of how a harmful custom can continue despite a law prohibiting it and myriad government programmes aimed at its elimination, only because it has cultural sanction and is rooted in socio-economic vulnerabilities of people. From 1930, when the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (popularly known as the Sarda Act) was passed, to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, there have been countless efforts to check the practice. While it has been decreasing, the pace is nowhere close to what it should be, given the devastating effects on young lives, especially that of young girls.

The G B Pant Institute of Studies in Rural Development, Lucknow, recently submitted a commissioned report to the Planning Commission on this practice in 10 states, and analysed the current situation, causes and consequences. Except for Maharashtra, Gujarat and Odisha, the proportion of child marriage in the other states studied is above 50%, with Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand showing the highest percentage of all, ranging from 53% to 61%.

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