Skip to main content

Child marriage more prevalent among Gujarat's rural rich compared to middle and poorer groups: UNICEF study

By Rajiv Shah
A new United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) study, which seeks to give policy directions to India on how to reduce child marriage, has said that in Gujarat's rural areas, the despicable practice is “strongly associated with caste membership”, and underlines, “Child marriage rates are highest among richer, high caste girls.” 
The study -- titled “Reducing Child Marriage in India A model to scale up results”, by Jyotsna Jha and scholars from the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies, Bangalore -- quotes a Gujarat government document, to point towards howpoor education of teenage girls has led to the high prevalence of child marriage in the state.
The 2015 document, Joint Review Mission for the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, says, “For every 100 boys enrolled, only 69 girls are enrolled at secondary level in Gujarat”, adding, “The gaps exist for all social groups but are higher for OBCs [Other Backward Classes] and Muslims.” 
“The gap further widens if one takes the number of boys and girls appearing for the class 10 board examinations”, the document further says, adding, “Several reasons were cited during our interactions: distance, lack of transport, parental lack of interest and child marriage being more important than others.”
Giving the example of Patan and Jamnagar districts from Gujarat, the study says, "The richer groups in these districts hold on to the practice of child marriage much more in situations where it is no longer a widespread phenomenon.” 
Thus, in Patan, situated in North Gujarat, the prevalence of child marriage in the age group 10 to 18 is as low as 15.5 per cent in the poor wealth quintile, rising to 27.8 per cent in the middle wealth quintile, and to 56.7 in the rich wealth quantile. 
Similarly, in Jamnagar, situated in Saurashtra region, the prevalence of child marriage in the poor wealth quintile is just 4.6, is 13.7 per cent in middle wealth quintile, but a whopping 81.7 per cent in the rich wealth quantile.
Providing examples from two districts each from four other states – Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Telangana – the report, interestingly, finds a similar trend prevailing all other states but Bihar. It finds that in in Bihar's two  districts -- Jamui and Siwan -- there is higher incidence of child marriage among poorer groups compared to middle and rich groups.
The report regrets, “The existing literature does not suggest any clear explanation for this variation, and for the fact that child marriage is not necessarily linked solely to poverty”, but adds, “One possible explanation lies in child marriage being strongly linked to social and community norms in these states.”
Giving example of the custom of atta satta in Gujarat, which refers to the practice of one set of brother and sister being married to another set of brother and sister, the study says, “Sibling marriage and a form of atta satta, known as saata, are common in Gujarat. In the event of irreconcilable differences of one couple, the other couple has to perforce break their marriage as well.”
---
*Download report HERE

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.