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Nearly 50 percent of marriages in India involve minors – children under the age of 18 years, thanks to the poor implementation of the law, experts said Monday.

‘The consequence of child marriage is in conflict with the development aspirations of the country,’ Ranjana Kumari, president of the WomenPowerConnect (WPC), said at a national workshop on gender inequalities.

She was referring to the National Family Health Survey 3, which has reported that 45 percent women aged 20-24 years were already married before the age of 18 years.

‘It (child marriage) perpetuates health problems, marital violence, poverty and economic inequality, lack of education and awareness, lack of reproductive choice and access to measures of fertility management,’ she stressed.

‘It is important to know that the high economic growth that we are boasting about is not directly leading to better social development due to practices like child marriage, domestic violence and female foeticide still plaguing our country,’ added Kumari.

According to National Family Health Survey 3, the median age at first marriage for women between the age 25 -49 years was 16.8 years, while that for men in the same age group was 22.7 years.

The seminar highlighted ways to improve implementation of Prohibition of Child marriage Act (PCMA) 2006, domestic violence act and the need to ensure passage of women’s reservation bill.

Under the law, a child or minor is a person up to 18 years in the case of girls and 21 years in the case of boys.


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