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Union Cabinet clears proposal to raise marriage age of women from 18 to 21 years

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21, reported India Today.

According to Indian Express, following the Cabinet nod to the Bill, the government will introduce an amendment to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, and consequently bring amendments to the Special Marriage Act and personal laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The proposal was recommended by the task force headed by Jaya Jaitley in Niti Aayog. Pediatrician VK Paul was also a part of the task force, reported India Today.

“I want to make clear that our reasoning behind the recommendation was never one of population control. Recent data released by NFHS 5 (National Family Health Survey) have already shown that the Total Fertility Rate is decreasing and the population is under control. The idea behind it (the recommendation) is the empowerment of women,” Jaitly was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.

At present, the minimum age of marriage for men is 21 and for women is 18.

Prime Minister Narendra 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," PM Modi had said.

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