The PM’s plan to raise legal age could be an economic booster and have social profits for India. As stated according to an State Bank Of India report.
“Increase in marriage age has enormous benefits on social and economic fronts for women,” said Soumya Kantian Ghosh, an economist for SBI.
The report is titled as ‘Increasing the legal age of women marriage: A dominant strategy for societal good, financially empowering women’
“On social front, this will lead to social benefits like lowering Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) as well as improvement of nutrition levels while on financial front opportunities will be opened up for women to pursue higher education and careers and become financially empowered, thus resulting in a more egalitarian society in thinking,” the report states.
The report talks about benefits such as low maternal deaths and improving nutritional levels. It also talks about how this gives opportunity to women to study, have jobs and overall financial stability.
“35% of females in India are married before the age of 21 years. The situation is grave in some states. Surprisingly, the situation in West Bengal is the worst across all states with the mean marriage age only 20.9 years and almost 47% of females getting married before the age of 21 years, even worse than Bihar and Rajasthan,” the report states.
The Task force
In June this year the Central government decided to set a panel so as to make an informed decision to change the legal age.
The Government has put forth a task force to evaluate the problem and the connection between early marriage and motherhood.
“A task force has been constituted to examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with (1)health medical well being and nutritional status of mother and infant during pregnancy, birth and thereafter, (2)key parameters like Infant Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Rate, Total Fertility Rate, Sex Ratio at birth, Child Sex Ration and (3) any other points pertaining to health and nutrition in this context,” said Union Minister of Women and Child development, Smirti Irani.
“The move will have other legal and psychological benefits also,” Ghosh said. “Any ground-level change will only happen when the psyche of people alter.”
The age should be 21 the same as the legal age for men to marry.
Increasing the age would also get everyone out of the mindset that women mature faster than men and hence can marry sooner. Maturity is not related to gender.