Raise marriageable age, Niti Aayog tells govt

Raise marriageable age, Niti Aayog tells govt

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A Niti Aayog member has suggested to the government to raise the statutory age of marriage for both men and women to prevent low birth weight and stunting among children born to very young couples.

Making a presentation at a day-long seminar organised by the Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry on the scourge of malnutrition, Niti Aayog member Vinod Paul, a pediatrician and former faculty member at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), pointed out that low birth weight was responsible for 20% cases of stunting in children.

Raising the statutory age of marriage for both men and women can help bring down the percentage of such cases, he suggested.

WCD ministry secretary Rakesh Srivastava took note of Paul's suggestion. 

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act provides that a woman cannot marry before the age of 18 and a man before 21

Focus on malnutrition

The ministry organised the event to brainstorm on the problem of malnutrition and roll out guidelines for turning 'Poshan Abhiyan' into a 'Jana Andolan' through the convergence of various government departments, community participation and use of technology.

The seminar was attended by “top policymakers” from the Union and State governments and representatives from multilateral partner institutions like UNICEF, World Bank, World Health Organisation (WHO), various civil society organisations and industry.

The WCD secretary appealed to India Inc, particularly those in the field of Information Technology, to join hands with the government to help check malnutrition.

He urged them to adopt any village or villages from the list of 115 aspirational districts and contribute to "the national cause" of ending malnutrition in these backward areas of the country under their corporate social responsibility initiatives.