Curb On Child Marriage

"Most of the women and girl children development programs of the State Government are aimed at curbing child marriage”, said Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi. 

Speaking a conference on child marriage, organized by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) here today, Mr.Padhi said in tribal areas hundreds of girls' hostels have been opened to accommodate tribal girls so that they could continue their education.

Secretary General of NHRC Ambuj Sharma, ACS Home Asit Tripathy, Secretary women & Child Development Chithra Arumugam and other senior officials were present.

 “Besides, bicycles are being given to girls so that they can go to school", he added. The Chief Secretary said currently, Odisha’s child marriage statistics stand at 21.3 percent, around five points less than that of the National average. 
NHRC Secretary General Mr.Sharma said that the rights body considers child marriage a major national concern.  He asked the state governments to adopt 'zero tolerance' policy to curb the social menace. Sharma stressed the need for strict enforcement of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and to create awareness among all stake holders. 

Even though over 40 pc of child-marriages of the world occur in India and as many as 3,600 child marriages are solemnised in the country every day, very few cases are reported. Surprisingly in 2015 and 2016 only 293 and 326 cases of child marriages reported under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, he stated.
According to National Family Health Survey-4, West Bengal and Bihar tops the list of highest number of child marriages with 40.7 pc and 39.1 pc followed by Jharkhand 38 pc and Rajasthan 35.4 pc.

 Odisha ranks 13th in the list with 21.3 pc child marriages occurring in the state, some districts have witnessed high prevalence of the practice.

In districts like Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Mayurbhanj, Koraput, Rayagada, Nayagarh, Ganjam and Keonjhar, incidents of child marriages are more than the national average of 26.8 pc.

Sources said, the main reasons for child marriages in Odisha is that only 26.7 pc women in the State have 10 or more years of schooling, social norms like remain unmarried is considered an oddity, social acceptance and poverty.

 "There is a need for amendment in the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and to make all child marriages void, as it was done by the Karnataka Government," said Chairperson of Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR). 

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