India’s federal government has cleared a proposal to increase the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years, local media reports said Thursday.
The decision to increase the marriageable age among women was reportedly made during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Currently, the minimum age of marriage for men is 21 and for women is 18, with the move, now the legal age of marriage for women will be the same as men.
“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, 1954 and personal laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.’’
The cabinet clearance is based on recommendations submitted to the Indian governments by the National Institution for Transforming India, NITI.
NITI is a task force constituted to examine matters pertaining to age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering maternal mortality rate and improvement of nutritional levels.
The recommendations by the task force, set up in June last year, stressed a woman must be at least 21 years old at the time of first pregnancy.
The task force has also recommended that a comprehensive public awareness campaign be chalked out to encourage social acceptance of the decision.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned the proposal during his Independence day speech in 2020.
He said the government is constantly concern about the health of daughters and sisters.
“To save the daughters from malnutrition, it is necessary that they’re married at the right age,” Modi said.