From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : IMR, MMR
Mains level : Marriage age issues
PM had announced a panel to fight malnutrition in young women and ensure they get married at the right age. Take a look at how the two are linked:
How prevalent is underage marriage?
- Data show that the majority of women in India marry after the age of 21.
- Chart 1 shows the mean age of women at marriage is 22.1 years, and more than 21 in all states. This does not mean that child marriages have disappeared.
- The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) found that about 26.8% of women aged 20-24 (Chart 2) were married before adulthood (age 18).
Try this question for mains:
Q. Discuss how marriage age and women’s health are linked with each other?
How does the age of marriage correlate with health?
- Preventing early marriage can reduce the maternal mortality ratio and infant mortality ratio.
- At present, the maternal mortality ratio — the number of maternal deaths for every 100,000 children born — is 145.
- India’s IMR shows that 30 of every 1,000 children born in a year die before the age of one.
- Young mothers are more susceptible to anaemia. More than half the women of reproductive age (15-49 years) in India are anaemic.
What delayed marriage can alter?
- Poverty, limited access to education and economic prospects, and security concerns are the known reasons for early marriage.
- If the main causes of early marriage are not addressed, a law will not be enough to delay marriage among girls.
What do the data show?
- Women in the poorest 20% of the population married much younger than their peers from the wealthiest 20% (Chart 5).
- The average age at marriage of women with no schooling was 17.6, considerably lower than that for women educated beyond class 12 (Chart 6).
- Almost 40% of girls aged 15-18 do not attend school, as per a report of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
- Nearly 65% of these girls are engaged in non-remunerative work.
- That is why many believe that merely tweaking the official age of marriage may discriminate against the poorer, less-educated and marginalised women.