New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday passed a proposal to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years, the same as men.
This clearance comes over a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the plan was under review. The proposal is based on recommendations by a task force set by the Centre to examine matters pertaining to age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering MMR (Maternal Mortality Rate), improvement of nutritional levels and related issues."
"This government is constantly concerned about the health of daughters and sisters. To save the daughters from malnutrition, it is necessary that they're married at the right age," the Prime Minister had said during 2020 Independence day.
Presently, the minimum age of marriage for men is 21 but for women, it is 18.
According to The Indian Express, following the Cabinet's approval, the government will introduce an amendment to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, and consequently bring amendments to the Special Marriage Act and personal laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
The proposals in the Bill have been made based on the recommendations submitted to Niti Aayog in December 2020 by the Centre's task force, headed by Jaya Jaitly, which was constituted to examine "matters pertaining to age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering MMR (Maternal Mortality Rate), improvement of nutritional levels and related issues".
Top government expert VK Paul, senior officials of the Health Ministry, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Law Ministry were among the members of the task force, which was set up in June last year.
The task force in its proposal had stressed that a woman must be at least 21 years old at the time of first pregnancy.
It also remarked that the delay in marriages has a positive financial, social, and health impact on families, society, and children.