68% child marriage victims are in 14-17 age group: census

68% child marriage victims are in 14-17 age group: census

Girls in the age group of 14-17 years form the biggest chunk of victims of child marriages in the country, the Census 2011 figures showed. The data was released only on Friday. 

According to Census 2011, 68.5% of the victims, including boys, are girls from the age group of 14-17 years. Of the 12.20 crore victims, both boys and girls, 8.36 crore are girls from this age group.

Among the 14-15 years age group, 2.81 crore girls were married before the legal age of 18 years for marriage, while that of 16-17 age group is 5.54 crore.

The number of boys, whose legal age for marriage is 21 years, who tied the knot when they were 14-15 years, was much lower at 39 lakh. The figure for 16-17 years is 91.69 lakh.

The ill effects of child marriage were documented in government’s National Strategy Document on Prevention of Child Marriage. It said such marriages deny a child the basic right to good health, nutrition and education.  “Evidence shows that early marriage makes girls more vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation,” the document published by Ministry of Women and Child Development said. As per the census figures released on Friday, a considerable number of children were married below 10 years. While there were 42.76 lakh boys who were married when they were below the age of 10 years, the number of girls was almost double at 78.49 lakh.

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