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Cabinet clears proposal to raise minimum age for marriage of women from 18 to 21

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Guwahati: More than a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the plan during his Independence Day address of 2020, the Union Cabinet Wednesday passed a proposal to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years — the same as men.

Prime Minister Modi, during his Independence Day speech last year, had made a mention of the proposal.

“This government is constantly concerned about the health of daughters and sisters. To save the daughters from malnutrition, it is necessary that they’re married at the right age,” the Prime Minister had said.

Presently, the minimum age of marriage for men is 21 but for women, it is 18.

The government is eyeing changes to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act, and the Hindu Marriage Act to bring the plan into action.

A NITI Aayog task force headed by Jaya Jaitly had backed the proposal.

Top government expert VK Paul, senior officials of the Health Ministry, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Law Ministry were among the members of the task force, which was set up in June last year.

The recommendations on the proposal were submitted in December as the task force stressed a woman must be at least 21 years old at the time of first pregnancy.

The delay in marriages has a positive financial, social, and health impact on families, society, and children.

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