Programmes and Schemes for Preventing Child Marriage

There are a range of programmes and schemes addressing the issue of child marriage in our country but there are very few programs specifically focusing on this. As we are aware that this problem is multi-factorial and hence a multi-pronged strategy is needed to ensure the protection of child rights. Most of the programs that are available in our country broadly fall into the following categories:

  1.     Education for girls
  2.     Economic opportunities and financial incentives
  3.     Improving nutrition and health status of adolescent girls
  4.     Law and policy

Programs and schemes for education for girls primarily include services like provision of annual scholarships and financial support for purchasing of uniforms and travel to the school. In states like Bihar, these kinds of schemes are particularly useful as this reduces the economic burden on the parents who are relatively belonging to a lower socio-economic stratum. However, whether these schemes have been successful in curbing this appalling practice remains a question mark. In addition to the above Government schemes, several funding bodies and civil society organisations are also working primarily to mobilise the community, generate awareness and provision of life-skills education.

There are several Government schemes for providing economic opportunities and financial incentives to girls. One example is Mukhyamantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana where the first two girl children in the family are given a financial incentive on completion of 18 years. The said amount can be utilised for further education or starting a small business etc. Similar to programs for education for girls it is yet not possible to comment on the impact of such programs on age at marriage due to unavailability of sufficient evidence.

Additionally there are certain schemes to improve the nutrition and health status of adolescent girls, one scheme known as Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls – SABLA was initiated by Government of India in November 2010. The scheme included an integrated package of services comprising nutrition and non-nutrition components. There are several other schemes and programs implemented by Civil Society Organisations to generate awareness and mobilise the community to access appropriate health care services.

Furthermore, there are numerous law and policy initiatives taken by central and state governments which can be explored in the law and policy section of this portal.

As mentioned above there are multiple strategies initiated by the Government and Non-Government Organisations to control this practice however alliance between the programs is inadequate and needs to be improved.