Uttar Pradesh Technical Education Minister Kamla Rani Varun on Monday has said that social evils like child marriages are still predominant in the state. She has also opined that it is one of the reasons behind medical conditions like anemia among women.
"Earlier, people did not care about the education and health of their girl child. However, times are changing. But even today, child marriages are taking place across the state even in the neighboring areas of a city like Lucknow, let alone far away rural areas," Kamla said addressing an event.
"Girls are being married at an age when they don't even know what marriage is. Then, they also give birth at a young age. What can be worse than a child giving birth to another child?" she added.
The cabinet minister has said that child marriage still prevails in places like Barabanki and Ayodhya where girls are married off at an age as young as seven.
"Anemia in girls in a major issue. However, some social evils have also contributed to the same. I have seen it myself, parents are careless towards their girl child. Are both the children the same for them?"
"A public awareness campaign against anemia is being started in the region. I believe awareness about anemia among the people is the cure to the medical condition. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is not merely words for us, but an initiative for physical and mental welfare for girls in the country," she added.
She also gave an example of one incident of child marriage she witnessed but could not stop as the procession was at the door and stopping it would have caused a backlash for the family and the girl.
After independence and adoption of the Indian constitution in 1950, the child marriage act has undergone several revisions and the minimum legal age for marriage, since 1978, has been 18 for women and 21 for men. However, the social evil of child marriage still prevails in India and predominantly in rural areas of the nation with most of the child marriages involve underage women, many of whom are in poor socio-economic conditions.
(With ANI inputs)