The minimum age of marriage for women is likely to increase from 18 to 21

The proposal to increase the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 was cleared by the cabinet on Wednesday.

PM Modi while addressing on the occasion of 75th independence day mention the proposal. He said the plan is under review.

He said the plan is under review and lowering maternal mortality and improving nutrition levels”. Global and Indian evidence rather than rhetoric argues that this is not feasible. Such a move will not affect maternal mortality or nutrition and there are more effective ways of empowering women that respect reproductive rights.

Presently, the minimum age of marriage for men is 21 but for women, it is 18.

The task force, led by former Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitly and NITI Aayog Member (Health) V.K. Paul, submitted its report to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) last month.

The report recommends "an increase in the age from 18 to 21, but in a phased manner,” said a senior government official on the condition of anonymity. “That means states should be given enough space and time to do the groundwork for such a legislation since it cannot be done overnight.”

Government has eyes on some others amendments too, following the Cabinet’s approval, the Government will introduce an amendment to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, and consequently bring amendments to the Special Marriage Act and personal laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

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