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.
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.
Earlier this year, hundreds of girls from Haryana, India’s northernmost state with one of the lowest female-to-male ratios, wrote to Modi, begging him to raise the marriage age from 18 to 21 years.
During her federal budget statement in February of last year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the decision was significant and will be investigated. “As India advances, more options for women to pursue higher education and careers become available,” she had stated.
“It is critical to reduce the MMR (maternal mortality rate) as well as increase nutrition levels. “The entire issue of a girl’s age when she becomes a mother must be viewed in this context,” she said, appointing a task committee to look into the matter.
The high-level task team, which included officials from the ministries of health, legislation, and women and child development, backed the plan, proposing that a woman be at least 21 years old when she has her first child.
According to a 2017 UN report, India is working to reduce child marriage and enhance the health of its moms. According to the survey, as many as 27% of Indian girls marry before they turn 18. Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan told NDTV that she was pleased with the action “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.”