Child marriage is a great and ongoing issue in India. It has been an issue which the nation has been unable to resolve, even after numerous amendments and legislations in this behalf. According to the ActionAid India report on ‘Eliminating Child Marriage in India: Progress and Prospects’, India contributes 33 per cent of the brides in the number of child marriages across the world.
The figure of child marriage in India, being 103 million is more than the total population of Philippines (100 million) and Germany (80.68 million), as analyzed by the report. The data is analyzed from Census 2011.
Every minute, 28 girl child marriages take place in the world in which two takes place in India. If girl child marriages are eliminated, 27,000 neonatal deaths, 55,000 infant deaths, and 1, 60, 000 child deaths can be avoided, stated the report.
According to Ms. Shabana Azmi, who had posted the following date, “Patriarchy is at the root of child marriage, and patriarchy has to be tackled completely to eliminate child marriage. Spreading education and building confidence amongst girls enables them to resist child marriage and chart their own lives.”
The report also stated that 75% of all child marriages took place in rural areas as on 2011. The number was even higher for the period between 2007 and 2011, at 82% with Uttar Pradesh accounting for 16.6% of the stats.
It was stated that UP, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh accounted for 70% of all child marriages in India as of 2011.
Child marriage has become a huge issue which cannot be solved in the short run. Even though, educating the society is a mildly effective way, however, a more efficient solution is the introduction of stringent penalties, in order to prevent the people from committing such an offence which is against the law, let alone the basic morals of the society and the principles of the Constitution.
According to the statement given by Mr. Srinivas Goli, the author of the report, “India needs to realise that child marriage is not just a human rights or gender issue. It is a huge demographic, health, education and economic issue. If we cannot eliminate child marriages, it will become a huge hindrance to India’s economic prospects in the form of unhealthy and unskilled workforce. The more skilled workforce alone can contribute to a GDP 1.7 per cent.”