How early marriage compromises girls’ lives, Maharashtra.


THE POLICY AND PROGRAMME DISCOURSE AROUND EARLY MARRIAGE has increased significantly over the last decade in India. For example, several national level policies formulated since 2000, including the National Population Policy 2000,a the National Youth Policy 2003,b the National Policy for the Empowerment of Womenc and, most recently, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006,d have advocated special programme attention to delay age at marriage and to enforce existing laws against child marriage. Programmatically also, several initiatives, including the Balika Samridhi Yojana, have been launched to prevent early marriage. Despite these commitments, substantial proportions of girls continue to marry in adolescence. As recently as 2005–06, more than two-fifths (47%) of women aged 20–24 were married by 18 years nationally.e While the situation of married young women in India has been increasingly documented, evidence on the ways in which early marriagelimits girls’ lives and compromises their reproductive health and choices is limited.

Youth in India: Situation and Needs, Policy Brief Number 6, 2008.

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and Population Council.



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