Drives don't deter child marriages in Rajasthan

Drives don't deter child marriages in Rajasthan

Around 16 per cent of girls in the age group of 15 to 17 years in Rajasthan are married off before they attain the legal age of 18 years.

 
This is the finding of a report prepared on the basis of the Census of India-2011. In other words, child marriages are often the norm in this desert state despite various campaigns and drives by the state government to check the illegal practice.

According to data, there are around 20.45 lakh girls in the age group of 15 to 17 years and, of these, 3.42 lakh are married. The maximum number of marriages have taken place in the age group of 16 to 17 years. 

Various social activists are of the view that the report exposes just the tip of the iceberg because the data is confined only to girls above 15 years of age. “The situation is worst in Rajasthan. The percentage would have been much higher, had the Census Department surveyed the martial status of girls below 15 years of age. In Rajasthan, people marry their daughters when they attain five years of age,” said Kavita Srivastav, a social activist.

The report says that situation is worst in Jaisalmer, Alwar, Tonk, Karauli, Sawaimadhopur, Dholpur and Barmer districts of Rajasthan. A maximum number of married girls in the age group of 15 to 17 years have been found in these districts. The picture in the capital city of Jaipur is also disappointing with 7.23 per cent of the girls in the age group of 15 to 17 years having been found married.

“To deal with child marriages, the government needs to adopt a long term approach. Gearing up before Akshya Tritiya is not the solution of this rampant problem,” said Megha Sharma, another activist fighting. Experts are of the view that only a small number of child marriages take place on the occasion of Akshya Tritiya so government campaigns on such occasions remain ineffective.

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