Marriageable age for girls in India has been demarcated at 18 years. But thanks to the Modi government who believes that the age is still very less and it is necessary to increase the already set limit – not only for females but for males as well – as it will have many social and economic benefits, including a reduction in malnutrition and maternal mortality in the country.
Unfortunately, at a time when the government is consistent on working for women's rights, rather than taking sides; the Congress has not hesitated in launching a scathing remark with Sajjan Singh Verma questioning that when girls become capable of bearing children at 15 years of age, then what is the need to increase their marriageable age any further?
"According to doctors, a girl is ready for reproduction by the age of 15. So, on what basis does girls' marriage age should be increased to 21 from 18," Verma told reporters in Bhopal.
Chouhan's proposal of raising marriage age limit
On Monday, Chouhan had called for a 'healthy' debate on raising the minimum age of marriage while launching the state government's 'Samman' campaign, a fortnight-long awareness programme for crimes against women.
As per The Indian Express report, the Chief Minister's statement came months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the nation on the 74th Independence Day, had stated that the Central government has constituted a committee formed by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to look into raising the minimum marriageable age for women from 18 years to 21 years.
But responding to Chouhan's proposal, Verma asked further, "Any girl is physically capable to give birth after 17 years. Has he (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) become a physician now?"
He said that girls should go to their 'sasural' (in-laws home) and be happy after they turn 18.
"He (Chouhan) does not want women to go to their 'sasural' and be happy in his bid to become the first chief minister to propose raising the minimum age of marriage to 21 years. What is the logic behind this?" the Congress leader said.
Government-appointed panel to decide on it
Following his Independence Day speech, Modi in October had assured women once again that a decision on the matter would be taken soon.
"To decide on what should be the right age of marriage for girls, discussions are on. I have been getting a lot of letters from aware daughters from across the country asking for an early decision on the matter. They ask why has the committee's report not come yet. I assure all those daughters that very soon the report will come and as soon as that happens, the government will study it and work on its recommendations," he said.
The Times of India stated in its report last year that the committee headed by Jaya Jaitly is giving final touches to the report.
Constituted in June, the task force was earlier expected to deliver its report by July 31.
The task force has the mandate to examine matters pertaining to age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering maternal mortality rate, improvement of nutritional levels and related issues, reports have said.