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बेसिक इंग्लिश का दूसरा सत्र (कक्षा प्रारंभ : 22 अक्तूबर, शाम 3:30 से 5:30)
Q. Child marriage in India: The 2011 Census report on the decadal headcount reveals that child marriage is still rampant in India. Comment.
Jun 02, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2, 3 and 1.

Ans :


The latest 2011 Census report on the decadal headcount reveals that child marriage is still rampant in India, with almost one in every three married woman having been wed while she was still under the age of 18 years. Indian prohibition of Child Marriage Act states that a girl can't marry before 18 and boy can't marry before completing 21 years of age.

Key findings of the report-

  • About 78.5 lakh girls (2.3% of all women or girls who were ever married or were married in 2011) were married while they were not yet 10 years of age.

  • As per Census 2011 data, about 30.2% of all married women, (or 10.3 crore girls) were married before they had turned 18.

  • Though the trend seems to be on the decline (In 2001 it was 43.5%), but still 30.2% is alarmingly high.

  • The trend of underage marriages is prevalent among all religious communities. The data show that the percentage of girls who were married below the age of 18 was roughly the same (about 31%) among both Hindus and Muslims.

  • About 38.1% of illiterate married women were married below the age of 18, and 23.3% of literate married women got married below the legal age.


  • Child marriage is still widespread in India, still about one-third of India women were married before they turned 18.

  • Child marriage violates the child rights, and has a negative impact on physical growth, health, mental and emotional development, and education opportunities.

  • It also affects society as a whole, since child marriage reinforces a cycle of poverty and perpetuates gender discrimination, illiteracy and malnutrition as well as high infant and maternal mortality rates.

  • Thought it affects both boys and girls, but girls are affected in much larger numbers and with greater intensity.

  • Child marriage impacts on almost all facets of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), hence combating this issue is one of the priority issue for government.


  • Government should bring more mechanisms to support critical investments and support systems for adolescent girls by bringing stakeholders, government, civil society and local and legal institutions to work with communities and adolescents to prevent child marriages.

  • Similarly government should kick start a national campaign to address persisting gender discrimination. It should universalise secondary schooling and build residential schools and provide incentives to poorest girls. And it must enforce existing laws more effectively within an enabling environment.


Although compared to 2001 census, child marriages in India is declining, the rate of decline is slow. It is affecting gender equality and overall development in India. Hence broad, multi-faceted strategies are needed to target different aspects of the problem. Though India is committed to eliminate child marriages, but it needs more effective and calibrated effort to end this practice and to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls by 2030 (SDG).

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