Every third child bride in world is Indian: Re­port

The Northlines - - BUSINESS -

In­dia is still to come on track when it comes to safe­guard­ing the rights of chil­dren if the dis­turb­ing fig­ures of mi­nor girls forced into mat­ri­mony are any­thing to go by.

Believe it or not, every third child bride in the world is an Indian and the coun­try is home to more than 30 per cent girl child mar­riages. (Fol­low The Tribune on Face­book; and Twit­ter @thetri­bunechd)

The rev­e­la­tions by a re­cent re­port of child rights NGO Ac­tion­aid In­dia speak vol­umes of how the coun­try with lit­tle fear of the child marriage pre­ven­tion laws con­tin­ues to be plagued by a pa­tri­ar­chal mind­set of the medieval times in the 21st cen­tury.

Child brides ac­count for 30.2 per cent of the cur­rently mar­ried fe­male pop­u­la­tion of the coun­try and elim­i­na­tion of this alone could con­trib­ute 5 per cent to fe­male lit­er­acy or 27 mil­lion more lit­er­ate women. This in turn could in­crease the coun­try’s GDP by 1.7 per cent, ob­serves the re­port — Elim­i­na­tion of Child Marriage in In­dia: Progress and Prospects — re­leased this week by Ac­tion­aid In­dia here. Elim­i­na­tion of girl child mar­riages can avoid 27,000 neona­tal deaths, 55,000 in­fant deaths, 1.6 lakh child deaths along with bring­ing down ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity which is caused due to com­pli­ca­tions in teenage preg­nan­cies.

In the course, In­dia may move closer to its ‘Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals’ of child and ma­ter­nal health at a time when it con­trib­utes 22 per cent to 6.3 mil­lion an­nual un­der-five deaths glob­ally and is still to achieve its ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate of 103.

Go­ing by the re­port, nearly 103 mil­lion In­di­ans liv­ing as on March 1, 2011 were mar­ried as chil­dren, i.e. be­fore reach­ing the age of 18. Of this, 85.2 mil­lion were girls.

A pe­rusal of the new set of up­set­ting find­ings brings out that every hour nearly 150 child mar­riages are tak­ing place in the coun­try. Of the every 28 child mar­riages per minute in the world, at least two take place in In­dia.

With the coun­try’s share to the global fig­ures stand­ing at 33 per cent, the preva­lence rate of child mar­riages is higher in In­dia than that of sev­eral African coun­tries, in­clud­ing So­ma­lia, Nige­ria, Eritrea and Zam­bia, as per the re­port.

Child mar­riages in In­dia (103 mil­lion) are more than the to­tal pop­u­la­tion of Philip­pines (100 mil­lion) and Ger­many (80.68 mil­lion).

Re­leas­ing the re­port, Sha­bana Azmi, cel­e­brated film ac­tor, so­cial worker and chair­per­son of Ac­tion­aid In­dia, said: “Pa­tri­archy is at the root of child marriage and it has to be tack­led to elim­i­nate child marriage. Spread­ing ed­u­ca­tion and build­ing con­fi­dence amongst girls en­able them to re­sist child marriage and chart their own lives.”

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