Context: Recently, the task force set up to take a relook at the age of marriage for women has submitted its report to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
More on the news:
- The panel was formed to decide on the “right age of marriage” for women.
- There are imperatives of lowering MMR as well as improvement of nutrition levels. Entire issue about the age of a girl entering motherhood needs to be seen in this light.
- In her Budget speech (last year), the Finance Minister of India had proposed a panel on the “age of a girl entering motherhood”.
- The main objective was to lower maternal mortality rates and improve nutrition levels.
- Women’s age of marriage was increased from fifteen years to eighteen years in 1978, by amending the erstwhile Sharda Act of 1929.
About the Task Force:
- The task force has been constituted with Ms. Jaya Jaitly as its Chairperson.
- Terms of Reference:
- To examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with
- Health, medical well-being and nutritional status of mother and neonate or infant or child, during pregnancy, birth and thereafter.
- Key parameters like Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Total Fertility Rate (TFR), Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB), Child Sex Ratio (CSR) etc.
- To suggest measures for promoting higher education among women.
- To suggest suitable legislative instruments and/or amendments in existing laws to support the recommendations of the Task Force.
- To work out a detailed roll-out plan with timelines to implement the recommendations of the Task Force.
Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR):
(Image source: ToI)
- MMR is a key performance indicator for efforts to improve the health and safety of mothers (before, during, and after childbirth).
- It is calculated as the annual number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
- Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy.
- According to the recently released Sample Registration System (SRS) 2015-2017 bulletin for MMR, India’s MMR has declined from 130 per 1 lakh live births in 2014-2016 to 122 per 1 lakh live births in 2015-2017.
- Can be used against those marrying without consent: Women’s rights activists have opposed the suggestion of raising the age of marriage from 18 to 21 for women, as such a move may be used to incarcerate young adults marrying without the consent of their parents.
- A tool to control population growth: It is widely believed among policy watchers that the “age of marriage” issue is a deception for controlling population growth.
- Instead of taking coercive steps, the government must ensure access to education and employment for women which will help delay the age at which they get married.
Source: Sanjeevni Today