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India Ranks 6th Out Of The Top 10 Countries In The World In Child Marriage

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Child marriage is a very old tradition, as seen in many parts of the world, including India. Despite several measures and awareness schemes taken by NGOs, Government and citizens alike, it still continues in the many segments of the Indians society, specially in the rural areas. A recent report by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) reveals a sorry state – India ranks 6th in the top 10 countries in the world where Child marriages are prevalent.
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The highest prevalence rate of child marriage in South Asia reported by 20-24 year-olds was in Bangladesh (where two out of every three girls married before age 18), followed by lndia, Nepal and Afghanistan.

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Child marriage is defined by the Indian law where a boy is married before he turns 21 and for a girl it is 18 years.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), child marriage is a violation of human rights as consent cannot be ‘free’ and ‘full’ when at least one partner is immature. Yet many girls, and also boys, enter into marriage without any chance of exercising their right to choose.

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About 700 million women around the world reported being married before 18 years compared to 156 million men.  Every third child bride in the world is Indian. Girl child marriages account for 30.2% of the currently married female population of the country.

The report says:

  • India is contributing 33% of total child brides in the world.
  • Child marriages in the country (103 million) are more than the total population of Philippines (100 million) and Germany (80.68 million).
  • In every hour, nearly 150 child marriages are occurring in India.
  • Out of every 28 child marriages occurring per minute in the world, more than two take place in India.
  • Elimination of girl child marriages can avoid 27,000 neonatal deaths, 55,000 infant deaths, 1, 60,000 child deaths.
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Child Marriage cases can be reported to the police, the child marriage prohibition officer or such persons as may be appointed to assist him/her, first class judicial magistrate or metropolitan magistrate, child welfare committee or a member of the child welfare committee, child line, district magistrate. Being an age old custom, it is found to be a arduous task to eliminate, but now with continuous awareness and endeavors, India can emerge out of it.

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