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Raising Age of Marriage for Women a Noble Cause But Not a Cure-All

Should India rethink the age of marriage to lower our alarming maternal mortality rate? Tune in to The Big Story!

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(This article was first published on 21 August 2020 and is being republished from The Quint's archives in light of the Union Cabinet clearing the proposal proposal to raise the minimum age for marriage of women from 18 to 21.)

The minimum age of marriage has always been a contentious topic of debate in India. Currently, as we know, the legal minimum age stands at 18 for women and 21 for men but since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on his Independence Day speech that the Centre had set up a committee to review and reconsider the minimum age of marriage for women, it's brought back the same old questions as before: should we or should we not reconsider raising the legal age of marriage for women?

The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development's 10-member task force, headed by former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly, is examining what kind of concerns there are with the current legal age – such as the correlation between early marriages and early motherhood, health risks for young mothers, issues of Maternal Mortality Ratio or MMR, improving maternal and child nutrition levels, etc.

But is raising the minimum age a cure-all for those issues? Should India rethink the age of marriage, in a bid to lower our alarming maternal mortality rate (MMR)? Tune in to The Big Story!

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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