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08 Nov, 2022

25 Min Read

Child Marriage Reduction in India

GS-I : Social issues Issues related to Child

Child Marriage Reduction in India

The steering committee of a global program to end child marriage is visiting India to see state interventions that have helped reduce child marriage prevalence.

Important Findings

The Committee:

  • The UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage team is visiting.

Child brides are becoming more common:

  • It is in response to an estimated increase in the number of child brides as a result of the pandemic.
  • As a result of the global pandemic, 10 million children may become child brides.

Annual review:

  • Child marriage in India fell from 47.4% in 2005-06 to 26.8% in 2015-16, a 21% point decrease over the decade.
  • According to the most recent National Family Health Survey-5 data, it has decreased by 3.5% points in the last five years, reaching 23.3% in 2020-21.

Global Situation:

  • The total number of girls married as children are 12 million per year, and progress must be significantly accelerated if the practice is to be eliminated by 2030, as stated in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Preventive measures are required:

  • Without further acceleration, more than 150 million more girls will marry before reaching the age of 18 by 2030.

Improvement, but more work is required:

  • While it is encouraging that in the last decade, South Asia's risk of a girl marrying before the age of 18 has dropped by more than a third, from nearly 50% to below 30%, it is not enough, and progress has been uneven.

India's Position:

  • The overall prevalence of child marriage is decreasing, but 23.3% is still a concerningly high percentage in a country with a population of 141.2 crore.
  • According to NFHS data, eight states have a higher prevalence of child marriage than the national average: West Bengal, Bihar, and Tripura top the list, with more than 40% of women aged 20-24 married before the age of 18.

Indian Territories:

  • West Bengal and Bihar have the highest rates of girl child marriage among the larger states.
  • Child marriage is more common in states with a large tribal poor population.
  • In Jharkhand, 32.2% of women aged 20-24 married before the age of 18, infant mortality was 37.9%, and 65.8% of women aged 15-19 were anaemic.
  • Child marriage is also prevalent in Assam (31.8% in 2019-20, up from 30.8% in 2015-16).
  • Child marriages have decreased in some states, including Madhya Pradesh (23.1% in 2020-21, down from 32.4% in 2015-16), Rajasthan (25.4%, down from 35.4%), and Haryana.
  • Several states are slightly lower than the national average:
  • In Odisha, 20.5% of women married before the age of 18 in 2020-21, down from 21.3% in 2015-16.
  • States with higher literacy rates and higher health and social indices performed significantly better on this metric.
  • Women in Kerala who married before the age of 18 fell to 6.3% in 2019-20, down from 7.6% in 2015-16.
  • Tamil Nadu has also improved its figures, with 12.8% of women aged 20 to 24 marrying before the age of 18, compared to 16.3% in 2015-16.

Policies and laws

  • The Sarda Act is another name for the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929. It was a law passed to put a stop to the practice of child marriage.
  • Its main goal was to eliminate the evils imposed on young girls who were unable to handle the stress of marriage and to prevent premature deaths.
  • This act defined a male child as being 21 years of age or younger, and a female child as being 18 years of age or younger.
  • The Child Marriage Prohibition Act, 2006: The marriageable age for a male under this act is 21 years, and for a female it is 18 years.
  • Child marriage is illegal in India, according to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006.
  • The Hindu Marriage Act of 1956 makes no specific provisions for punishing the parents or those who performed the marriage ceremony.
  • A girl can have her marriage annulled only if she marries before the age of fifteen and challenges the marriage before the age of eighteen.
  • Personal Law in Islam: Child marriage is not prohibited by Muslim law. After marriage, the couple has a "option of puberty" known as Khayar-ul-bulugh in which they can repudiate the marriage once they reach puberty.
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act,2012 aims to protect children from violations of their human and other rights.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved raising the age of marriage for women to 21years. A parliamentary standing committee is weighing the pros and cons.

The Most Common Reasons for Child Marriage


  • For a poor family, marrying off one of their daughters means one less mouth to feed and one less child to educate.
  • Child marriage may appear to be a safer option for families living in dangerous environments, such as a refugee camp or a war zone.
  • Child marriage is deeply ingrained in some cultural traditions, where it is considered a normal and reasonable practise.

Social Insecurity:

  • Many people believe that a married woman is far more protected from societal offences than an unmarried woman. Unmarried women are viewed as having malicious intentions, which leads to crimes against them.

Avoiding a Share in Ancestral Property:

  • In most rural areas, parents believe that all of their ancestral property belongs to their sons and that if they marry their daughters at a young age, they will lose their share.

Avoiding spending on female education:

  • Most families make a distinction between boys and girls. Female children are regarded as a burden because they are not required to work and must perform household chores both before and after marriage.

The Effects of Child Marriage

Child marriage is a violation of human rights and dignity that, unfortunately, is still socially acceptable.

  • Harmful effects: It has a significant impact on children's education, health, and safety.
  • Reduces Girls' Education Rates: Child marriage is typically the end of a girl's education. She is expected to take care of her husband and start having children once she marries, leaving little time for school or a career.
  • Child marriage may appear to be a good financial decision for struggling parents in the short term, but it can actually trap families in a cycle of poverty.
  • Contributes to higher fertility rates: Because they have more child-bearing years during their marriage, younger brides are more likely to have larger families. They are also more likely to face greater inequality with their husbands, resulting in the wife having little to no say in when and how many children she has.
  • Inability to Plan or Manage Families: Young girls have less influence and control over their children and have less ability to make nutrition, health care, and household management decisions.
  • Desire for a Male Child: In order to have a male child, young girls and women are forced to conceive as many times as they can until they give birth to a male child.


  • Child marriage has serious consequences, not only because it violates children's rights, but also because it leads to more infant and maternal deaths.
  • Children born to adolescent mothers are more likely to have stunted growth due to their low birth weight. According to NFHS-5, the prevalence of child stunting in 2019-21 is 35.5%.
  • Data show that child marriage is a major predictor of high fertility, poor maternal and child health, and lower women's social status.
  • Centralised schemes, such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, require better ground implementation.

Way Forward

  • A multi-pronged strategy is required, including poverty eradication, improved education and public infrastructure for children.
  • Raising public awareness of health and nutrition issues, as well as regressive social norms and inequalities.
  • Strong laws, rigorous enforcement of laws.
  • Creating an ideal situation on the ground to ensure that the girl child — girls with either or less than a primary level of education — has a higher rate of child marriage.
  • A girl child receives an education and, preferably, vocational training in order to be financially independent.

Source: The Hindu

World Heritage Glaciers in Danger: UNESCO

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Climate Change

World Heritage Glaciers in Danger: UNESCO

  • A recent UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) study discovered that a third of the glaciers on the UNESCO World Heritage list are under threat, despite efforts to limit temperature increases.
  • A glacier is a large, perennial accumulation of crystalline ice, snow, rock, sediment, and water that forms on land and moves down slope under the influence of gravity and its own weight. They are sensitive indicators of climate change.

What does the findings highlight?

Glaciers are under threat:

  • Glaciers can be found in 50 UNESCO World Heritage sites, accounting for nearly 10% of the Earth's total glacierized area.
  • They include the highest (next to Mt. Everest), longest (in Alaska), and Africa's last remaining glaciers.
  • Because of CO2 emissions, which are warming temperatures, these glaciers have been retreating at an accelerated rate since 2000.
  • They currently lose 58 billion tonnes of ice per year, which is equivalent to France and Spain's combined annual water use, and are responsible for nearly 5% of observed global sea-level rise.
  • Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania are all threatened by glaciers.
  • Africa: All World Heritage sites in Africa, including Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kenya, will most likely be gone by 2050.
  • Asia: Glaciers in Three Parallel Rivers Protected Areas of Yunnan (China) - highest mass loss relative to 2000 (57.2%) and fastest melting glacier on the List.
  • Europe: Glaciers in the Pyrenees Mont Perdu (France, Spain) are expected to vanish by 2050.

The Importance of Glaciers:

  • Glaciers provide water to half of humanity, either directly or indirectly, for domestic use, agriculture, and power.
  • Glaciers are also biodiversity pillars, feeding many ecosystems.
  • When glaciers melt quickly, millions of people face water scarcity and an increased risk of natural disasters like flooding, and millions more may be displaced as sea levels rise.


  • The remaining two-thirds can still be saved if global temperature rises do not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • In addition to drastically reducing carbon emissions, a new international fund for glacier monitoring and preservation is required.
  • A fund of this type would fund comprehensive research, foster exchange networks among all stakeholders, and implement early warning and disaster risk reduction measures.
  • There is an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in nature-based solutions to help mitigate climate change and better adapt to its effects.

What are the World Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO?

  • A World Heritage Site is a location designated by UNESCO for its exceptional cultural or physical significance.
  • The international 'World Heritage Programme,' administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, maintains the list of World Heritage Sites.
  • This is embodied in the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was adopted by UNESCO in 1972.


  • UNESCO lists approximately 1,100 sites across its 167 member countries.
  • The United Kingdom's 'Liverpool — Maritime Mercantile City' was removed from the World Heritage List in 2021 due to "the irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property."
  • After concerns about poaching and habitat degradation, the UNESCO panel delisted the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman in 2007, and the Elbe Valley in Dresden, Germany, in 2009, following the construction of the Waldschloesschen road bridge across the Elbe River.
  • Sites in India: There are 3691 monuments and sites in India. UNESCO has designated 40 of these sites as World Heritage Sites.
  • Among these are the Taj Mahal, Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Natural sites such as Assam's Kaziranga National Park are also listed as World Heritage Sites.

Source: Indian Express

Wangala Dance: Meghalaya

GS-I : Art and Culture Festivals

Wangala Dance: Meghalaya

  • The Rising Sun Water Fest-2022 kicked off in the pristine surroundings of Umiam Lake (a man-made reservoir) in Meghalaya.
  • On the occasion of 'The Rising Sun Water Fest-2022,' members of the Garo tribal community perform the Wangala dance.

About Wangala Dance:

  • Wangala, also known as the Festival of Hundred Drums, is celebrated with various forms of dances performed to the tunes of folk songs played on drums and primitive flutes made of buffalo horns.
  • The festival commemorates the Sun God and marks the end of the long harvest season.
  • The celebration also marks the end of a long period of toil in the field for the Garo tribe before the arrival of winter.
  • The festival is a way for the Garo Tribe of Meghalaya to preserve and promote their cultural identity, and they display their tradition in their celebrations.

About the Garo Community:

  • The Garos, also known as A'chiks, are Meghalaya's second largest tribe.
  • The Khasi and Jaintia tribes are Meghalaya's other two major tribes.
  • The Garos have a strong belief that they originated in Tibet. There are several dialects and cultural groups. Each of them first settled in a specific area of the Garo Hills and outlying plain lands.
  • However, Christianity has had a significant impact on the culture of the modern Garo community.
  • Nokpantes are a relic of the past, and modern parents treat all children with equal care, rights, and importance.
  • The Garo marriage is governed by two important laws: Exogamy and A'Kim, which are based on clan affiliation. Marriages within the same clan are not permitted.
  • According to Akim law, a man or woman who has once contracted marriage will never be free to remarry a person of another clan, even if his or her spouse dies.
  • The Garos are one of the world's last matrilineal societies.
  • Individuals are given clan titles by their mothers. Traditionally, the property is passed down from mother to the youngest daughter.
  • Sons leave their parents' home when they reach puberty and are educated in the village bachelor dormitory (Nokpante). After marrying, the man moves into his wife's home. Garos are a matrilineal but not matriarchal society.

Read Also: Tokhu Emong Festival

Source: PIB

Tokhu Emong Festival

GS-I : Art and Culture Festivals

Tokhu Emong Festival

  • Nagaland is conducting the four-day Tokhu Emong Bird Count (TEBC), the first avian documentation exercise to include species other than Amur falcons.
  • The exercise has been timed to coincide with the Lothas' post-harvest Tokhu Emong festival, a Naga community that dominates Nagaland's Wokha district.

What exactly is the Tokhu Emong Festival?

  • 'Tokhu Emong,' a perfect blend of religion, culture, and entertainment, is widely celebrated in Wokha district.
  • This colourful festival is held every year on November 7th and lasts for 9 days.
  • Tokhu means to travel from house to house, gathering tokens and gifts in the form of natural resources and food. However, the meaning of 'Emong' is to come to a halt for the specified period of time.
  • This festival's main attractions include community songs, dances, feasts, fun, and frolic.
  • People relive their ancestors' stories written decades ago with the start of this festival.
  • During the festival, generous offerings are made to the "Sky God" and the "Earth God" in exchange for blessings.

What exactly are Amur Falcons?

  • Amur falcons, the world's longest-traveling raptors, begin their journey with the arrival of winter.
  • Raptors breed in southeastern Siberia and northern China, and millions of them migrate across India, across the Indian Ocean, and back to Mongolia and Siberia.
  • Their migratory route of 22,000 kilometres is one of the longest among all avian species.
  • They get their name from the Amur River, which runs through Russia and China.
  • Doyang Lake in Wokha, Nagaland, is best known as a stopover for Amur falcons on their annual migration from breeding grounds to warmer South Africa.
  • As a result, Nagaland (Pangti Village) is also known as the "World's Falcon Capital."
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List ranks birds as the least endangered, but the species is protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and the Convention on Migratory Species, to which India is a signatory (which means it is mandatory to protect the birds).

Source: The Hindu

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