A National Action Plan is being prepared to prevent child marriages, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
While there has been a reduction in number of child marriages in the country, the social evil still existed in states like Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, she told Rajya Sabha.
“Child marriages continue to take place at some places in Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh… it is also prevalent in West Bengal,” she said during Question Hour.
As per the National Health Survey (2005-6) the percentage of women in the age group 18-29 who married before reaching legal age of 18 is 45.6 percent.
“This indicates prevalence of child marriage in the country,” she said.
She said incidence of child marriages has come down during the last decade. In Rajasthan, it has fallen from 58.4 percent of all marriages to 21.9 percent currently.
In Chattisgarh it has come down from 50.5 percent to 6 percent, in Bihar it has dropped from 63.7 percent to 20.2 percent and in Madhya Pradesh it has fallen to 17.5 percent from 52.6 percent.
In Assam, child marriages as percentage of all marriages has fallen from 38.2 percent to 10.2 percent.
She said efforts were on to tackle the problem of child marriage through close coordination with state governments for effective implementation of the law.
The ministry has been implement a scheme ‘Sabala’ for empowering adolescent girls in 205 districts of the country since November 2010, she said, adding awareness campaigns were being conducted to bring attitudinal changes to prevent child marriage.