New Delhi: At least 44.5% women aged between 20 and 24 are married by 18 years of age, according to national family health Survey-2005-06.
As per the survey, 52.5% of these women live in rural areas and 71.6% do not have any education, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
However, she said in order to prohibit child marriages and make the provisions of the Act more effective and punishment more stringent for offenders, a new legislation “The prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006” has been notified.
The government has also launched a Scheme of Conditional Cash Transfer with Insurance cover which includes cash transfers to the family of the girl child based on the fulfilment of four important conditionalities — birth and registration of girl child, immunisation, retention in school and delaying marriage beyond 18 years of age.
The scheme has been included in annual plan 2007-08, as a Central Sector Scheme, she said.
Chowdhury also informed the Upper House that a study by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on Child Abuse: India 2007, reveals physical and sexual abuse of children living in juvenile homes.
She said her ministry has formulated a new centrally sponsored scheme — Integrated Child Protection Scheme for implementation during 11th Plan period to provide for comprehensicve child protection framework for children of the country.