Skip to main content

Why hasn't India signed 1962 UN convention on minimum age of marriage, registration? asks UNICEF document

Counterview Desk
A recent UNICEF document, “Reducing Child Marriage in India: A model to scale up results?” has sharply criticized the Government of India authorities for failing to sign up a more than five-decades old United Nations document crucial document seeking complete abolition of child labour.
The study, released in January 2016, says: “India is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages (1962)”, insisting, “This means it has not committed itself to the provisions of marriage only by clearly expressed consent of both parties, who have to be of an age competent to give legal consent.”
Even as pointing out that India is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, “which mentions elimination of child marriage”, the UNICEF document has characterized the failure to sign up the 1962 convention as an “ambiguity in its commitment to the international community” to abolish child marriage.
No doubt, the document says, “India has adopted laws to declare the practice of child marriage illegal and implemented a number of schemes to prevent it... The first act against child marriage, the Sarda Act, came as early as 1929”, it notes, adding, “It was later renamed as the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929.”
"After almost seven decades”, UNICEF notes, “It was replaced by the new Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA 2006)”, suggesting these are piecemeal solutions.“Despite the new law and designated officials and roles, the enforcement has been extremely slow and the number of cases reported is very low”, it adds.
Quoting from the 2014 compendium of Crime in India to show official indifference towards child marriage, the document says, it lists “just 280 reported cases of child marriage (National Crime Records Bureau), which obviously does not begin to reflect the true extent of child marriage in India.”
The document says, there are “more than 47 per cent of women in the age group of 20-24 years were reported to have married before attaining the age of 18 in 2005-2006, adding, “The 2011 census estimates nearly 17 million children in the age group of 10-19 years to be married.”
“Although a substantial body of research exists on the factors that contribute to the prevalence, and a large number of policy and programme interventions are in place, the rate of change in child marriage has been slow in India”, the document underlines.
Thus, it says, “Between 1990 and 2005, child marriages declined at a rate of just 1 per cent per year. Since 2005, the rate in the decline has accelerated to 2 per cent per year.” It adds, “A comparative analysis of Census 2001 and 2011 reveals that there has been a change of -1.04 percentage points for married girls in the age group 15-19 years.”
“This trend is common for all India as well as high prevalence states (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal)”, the document – which focuses on the four states – points out, adding, “The ratio of girls married below the age of 18 is much higher in rural areas compared to urban areas (69:31) in relation to the overall distribution of the rural-urban population in the country.

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Hindutva founders, not Congress, were actual 'proponents' of two-nation theory

By Shamsul Islam*
No other organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in double-speak. In fact, what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak" would be an understatement in the case of RSS. The latest proof of this nasty case was provided by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, de facto Prime Minister and senior RSS leader in the Lok Sabha (akin to the House of Commons in England) on December 9, 2019.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.