The Centre has decided to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years. The legislative modifications were introduced during the current winter session of Parliament. Now, the minimum age for marriage of women is 21.
According to reports, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal on Wednesday to bring consistency in the marriageable age of men and women, and a Bill to alter the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006, was introduced during this session.
To guarantee a consistent age of marriage, the proposed Bill includes adjustments to various personal laws. Some of them even relate to the marriage of various cultures.
Earlier, women could marry at the age of 18. However, men can marry at the age of 21.
The plan to change the minimum age for marriage is by a NITI Aayog work team led by Jaya Jaitly.
The task team, formed in June of last year, includes top government experts VK Paul, senior officials from the Health Ministry. Also, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and the Law Ministry.
The task panel highlights that a woman must be at least 21 years old at the time of her first pregnancy in its recommendations. Marriage postponement has a favourable financial, social, and health impact on families, society, and children, according to the report.
The task force’s proposal was based on extensive talks with professionals and young adults. Moreover, in particular, young women because the decision directly affects them. However, the task force received significant criticism from other quarters. The task group is in appointment by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in June 2020. Dr V K Paul, a member of the Niti Aayog, is among the members. Also, as are the Secretaries of the WCD, Health, and Education Ministries. Moreover, the Legislative Department.
Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan told NDTV that she is happy with the action “This is a wise choice. This will allow the girls to devote more time to their studies. They will be able to be self-sufficient. They will have more job opportunities as well.”