Empowered Step in Raising Girl's Marriage Age

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21 Dec, 21 10:58
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-Lalit Garg

Empowered Step in Raising Girl's Marriage Age

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has seen the dream of women's empowerment not with closed eyes in the dark of night, but with open eyes in the light of day. In his dream, there is a knock of equality of man and woman with the idea of all-round development of women. Modi had announced in his 2020 Independence Day address that the minimum age of marriage for girls in the country would be raised from 18 to 21. They do what they say, that is why after almost a year, and the Prime Minister has implemented his announcement. The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to increase the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years. Now it will be introduced in Parliament.
Surely with the formation of this new system, a new light will come in the life of women. One destination, one direction and one way, yet there have been many inequalities in the life of man and woman, two forces of society were moving back and forth. To remove such discrepancies and inequalities, there was a knock on the door of thinking many times, whenever the door was opened, and the knocker appeared to return from there. But Modi also knocked and made it a reality, which should be welcome. Because with this, women will be able to see many discrepancies in their lives being removed while developing rapidly. But the benefit of making a law is only when it is implemented in its entirety. The family and society are expected to think more honestly and sympathetically for the larger interest of the daughters. Now the minimum age of marriage for both men and women in India will be 21, which will shape the structure of an ideal and egalitarian society.
The question of the age of marriage of girls is not only related to a balanced social system but it is also related to their health, thinking, security and development. Every country, society and class wants to develop. Why did women lag behind in the race for development? This question is not meaningless, but keeping many points in front of its solution, Modi has thought and presented a new society and nation. The Prime Minister had then said, 'The government is concerned about the health of daughters and sisters. To save daughters from malnutrition, it is necessary that they get married at the right age. For this a task force was set up, which included senior officials of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Law. The task force had strongly stated that a woman must be at least 21 years of age at the time of her first pregnancy.
 The financial, social and health condition of the families is strengthened when the marriage takes place at the right time. The biggest advantage of getting married at a mature age is that girls get a chance to study more and choose a career. She also becomes  skilled and efficient to run a family. It is well known that the responsibility of a large number of girls' education, employment, and family management has been hampered due to marriage at an early age. In every field of life be it personal or professional; women's role is main. Her progressive and nurturing nature makes everything better and proved. So, it’s the high time to think about women empowerment in every field of life.
After increasing the age of marriage, the Modi government will now introduce amendments to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 and consequently will bring amendments in personal laws such as the Special Marriage Act and the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. In December 2020, the recommendations were submitted to the NITI Aayog by the Task Force of the Centre headed by Jaya Jaitley. This task force was set up to examine matters related to the age of motherhood, the imperative to reduce maternal mortality, and improve nutrition. On the basis of these recommendations, the Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to increase the marriage age of girls. The minimum age of marriage for girls is 21 years, there are many benefits, and the biggest advantage will be that the confidence and morale of the girls will increase. They will be able to make effective decisions for their career and life. She will dare to raise her voice against injustice like child marriage. Fight against tyranny and exploitation. The family and society will have to wait for the daughter to turn 21.
Women have to raise their standard of living, they have to become a tree which gives shade and gives fruit. They remain useful. In passing, they have learned to wear beautiful clothes, to look beautiful and attractive, to decorate a beautiful house, to speak beautiful things of knowledge and science. Its usefulness cannot be denied, but now they have to stand on their own feet and contribute to the development of society and nation while building them. For this it is necessary that they get freedom from the bondage and tradition of marriage at a young age. There is no guarantee that they will be free from these customs and shackles even after the enactment of law. Even today, the laws made for the respect and rights of women in the country and the world are seen flying.
A large section of the society still considers women to be of second status. Such orthodox thinking thinks that girls mature quickly, so the bride should be younger than the groom. At the same time, it is also said that since we have a patriarchal society, then when the husband grows up in age, his honour does not get hurt if the wife obeys him. But social workers and health experts have from time to time called for a rethinking of the marriage age of girls. After the year 1929, by amending the Sharda Act, in 1978, the age limit for marriage of women was increased from 15 to 18 years.
According to the World Health Organization, the maternal mortality rate is one lakh women die every year due to pregnancy due to its infectious causes. Younger marriages are the major cause of maternal mortality. That is why there has been a discussion on increasing the age of girls all over the world, changes are also being made. The minimum age of marriage in China is 22 years for men and 20 years for women. In Pakistan and many other Muslim countries, the age of marriage is 18 years for men and 16 years for women. The minimum age for marriage of girls in Iran is 13 years, but girls are also married at the age of 9 if the court and the girl's father allow. In Iraq, the age of marriage for girls is fixed at 18, but if the parents allow, marriage can take place even at the age of 15. Even in the US there is no upper limit. There were more than two lakh valid marriages of minors registered between 2000 and 2015. But it is a rich educated country with a different social structure, whereas India has a different social structure, here only by making laws and implementing them properly, ideal equality, co-living and development can be ensured. As India progresses, so too are opportunities for women to advance in education and career. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the female mortality rate and improve the levels of nutrition. While listening to the knock of time, it is necessary to look at the whole issue related to the age of a girl child with a sensitive point of view. Everyone should participate in shaping this new dream arising in the heart and mind of the structure of a healthy and egalitarian society, so that a new era of women's life-building can begin.

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