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

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”