Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Child marriage still regarded as important custom in AP: Study

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The Child Right and You (CRY) organised a one-day consultation programme at a hotel in Vijayawada on Wednesday. As part of the programme, C Raghavachari Andhra Pradesh Press Academy Chairman Kommineni Srinivasa Rao and Child Right and You (CRY) general manager Peter Suneel released a poster that said, ‘Balala Bhadratha – Andari Badhyata’.

On the occassion, CRY revealed a study report regarding child marriage. According to this report, child marriage is still regarded as an important custom in society for 52 per cent of parents and parents-in-law in Andhra Pradesh. Only 22 per cent and parents-in-law and over half of the respondents 54 per cent of child brides/grooms in the State are aware of the negative consequences of child marriage.

Peter Suneel said that child marriage tends to have an inter-generational impact on education, health and nutrition of adolescent girls and their children, as well as perpetuates the cycle of poverty. He further informed that limited educational opportunities also tend to compromise girls’ ability to contribute to the household income and make them vulnerable to domestic violence and engaging in an insecure informal work sector.

Further, he reminded that according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), nearly one-third of women (29.3 pc) between 20-24 years married before reaching the age of 18 years in Andhra Pradesh. The rate is higher than the all India average of 23.3 per cent. He said that the practice of child marriage was first legally prohibited in 1929. As per the 1929 Act, marriage of girls below the age of 14 years and boys below the age of 18 years was prohibited, he added.

The CRY general manager informed that the 1929 Act was amended in 1978 to increase the minimum age to 18 years for females and 21 years for men. He further asserted that public awareness and education were necessary to prevent child marriages.

Andhra Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (APSCPCR) Dr Rajendra Prasad, Adi Lakshmi, Badugu Chennayya, representatives of other NGOs and teachers were present.

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