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January 9 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


A recent Lancet study sheds light on child marriage in India, revealing an overall decline nationwide. However, certain states like Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra collectively contribute to over half of the total burden of child marriages in girls.

Policy Interventions in West Bengal:

Kanyashree Prakalpa Scheme:

  • Launched in 2013, incentivizes schooling for girls aged 13-18 to discourage child marriage.
  • Covered 81 lakh girls, recognized with the United Nations Public Service Award in 2017.

Rupashree Prakalpa:

  • Provides cash incentives for girls’ marriages, sometimes leading to utilizing benefits from both schemes.

Educational Stride and Child Marriage Rates:

  • Despite increased girls’ school enrollment, child marriage rates remain high in West Bengal.
  • Migration in the state contributes to child marriage, driven by societal norms and economic factors.

Challenges in Law Implementation:

  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006:
  • West Bengal reported 105 cases in 2021, raising concerns about law enforcement.
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, proposes raising the marriage age for women to 21, currently under Parliamentary review.

Impacts of Child Marriage:

Ending Childhood:

  • Child marriage abruptly ends childhood, pushing boys and girls into adulthood prematurely.
  • Early marriages often involve significant age differences, intensifying challenges.

Human Rights Violation:

  • Recognized as a human rights violation and a form of sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Denies fundamental rights, including health, education, safety, and participation.

Maternal and Child Health Implications:

  • Child brides face increased risks during pregnancy and childbirth, impacting maternal and child health.
  • Mental health issues and susceptibility to HIV are also associated with child marriage.

Initiatives to Tackle Child Marriage:

  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA): Legal framework to prevent child marriages.
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme: Aims at promoting the education of the girl child and preventing gender-based sex-selective elimination.
  • National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR): Works towards safeguarding the rights of children, including protection from child marriage.
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012: Addresses the issue of child sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • CHILDLINE: A helpline for children in distress, providing support and intervention.

Way Forward:

  • Mobilize Political Will: Prioritize eradication of child marriage through legislative measures at state and national levels.
  • Social Campaigns: Involve stakeholders like panchayats, schools, and local communities in awareness campaigns.
  • Promote Reporting and Transparency: Regularly update and provide detailed information on child marriage cases.
  • Comprehensive Review of PCMA 2006: Identify loopholes and areas for improvement in enforcement.
  • Advocate for the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021: Swift approval to increase the minimum age of marriage for females to 21.
  • Empower Girls: Provide information, skills, and support networks to enhance autonomy and decision-making.


Child marriage persists as a critical issue, especially in states like West Bengal. While policy interventions are in place, challenges in law implementation and societal norms contribute to its prevalence. The need for comprehensive strategies, increased awareness, and legislative reforms is crucial to creating a society where the rights and well-being of children are safeguarded.

Mains Question:

  1. Despite the implementation of policy interventions, child marriage remains a prevalent issue in West Bengal. Analyze the factors contributing to the persistence of child marriage in the state and suggest comprehensive strategies for effective eradication. (150 WORDS).


January 9
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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