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Unicef Report: Decline in the number of child marriages in India

Swapna Mohanty | Updated on: 6 March 2018, 13:11 IST

On Tuesday Unicef said that there has been a significant drop in the number of child marriages worldwide.

According to the child welfare agency, an estimate of 25 million child marriages have been prevented in the past decade.

There has been a significant decline in the number of child marriages. While a decade ago there was one in four getting married under 18, presently the figures have come down to one in five girls.

The report suggests that there has been a tremendous decline in South Asian countries. The agency suggested that better education for girl child can be a possible reason for the decline in the child marriage rate in India.

Education has played a key role in the decline in the number of child marriage cases and Rajasthan has proved it.

Maximum child marriage cases in Rajasthan

A report released by the Young Lives in coordination with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) last year revealed that Rajasthan has the highest incidence of child marriages. The report was based on the on the 2011 Census.

The census stated that Rajasthan alone had 2.5% of marriages of minor girls and this followed 15 States, including Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Nagaland, Assam, Maharashtra, Tripura, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Karnataka

Rajasthan also topped in the percentage (4.69%) of boys marrying below the legal age of 21 years. 

Education for change

In a small village in Jodhpur, there is an institute that bridges the gap between the importance of education and traditional belief.

This non-profit institute called Veerni Institute in Jodhpur provides free education to child brides.

In Rajasthan, there exists a child marriage custom where the bride is not sent to the groom’s house until she reaches puberty. This tradition is called 'gauna', after her first menses, the groom is called to take away the bride.

In most of the cases, the girls compelled to drop school and stay at home. 

This institute helps these girls uninterrupted education. This boarding school which was set up in 2005 offers education till class 5.

Because then after most of the students discontinue.

Veerni Institute girls posing for shutterbugs

This non-profit institute called Veerni Institute in Jodhpur provides free education to child brides.

In Rajasthan, there exists a child marriage custom where the bride is not sent to the groom’s house until she reaches puberty. This tradition is called 'gauna', after her first menses, the groom is called to take away the bride.

 

In India Prohibition of Child Marriage Act imposes a fine of 100,000 Indian rupees and two years in prison for parents who try to marry off their children.

Despite the law, there is widespread child marriage happening in different parts of the country.

First published: 6 March 2018, 13:11 IST
 
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