Only one woman in panel examining minimum marriage age of girls

Of the 31 members in the Parliamentary Standing Committee, 10 are from the Rajya Sabha and 21 from the Lok Sabha

New Delhi: The Parliamentary panel which will examine a bill seeking to raise the legal age of marriage of women from 18 to 21 and submit its recommendations has only one woman member.

As per the Rajya Sabha website, the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Education, Women, Children, Youth, and Sports, headed by BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, has its full complement of 31 members and Trinamool Congress member of the upper house, Sushmita Dev is only woman among them.

Of the 31 members, 10 are from the Rajya Sabha and 21 from the Lok Sabha.

During the Winter session, the government introduced the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha and it was referred to the standing committee on the opposition’s demand.

A committee member said that it would be better if a few more women parliamentarians are members of the committee which is going to discuss the law increasing the legal marriage age of women to 21 years from 18.

“Currently there is no vacancy to nominate new women MPs in the committee. But the committee Chairman has power to invite any one and we wish he will invite everyone for wider consultation on the proposed law,” said the member, who did not want to be identified.

The Union Cabinet passed a proposal to increase the minimum legal age of marriage of women to 21 from 18 years on December 15 last year. Currently the legal minimum age of marriage for men is 21 and 18 for women. The proposal was based on the recommendation of NITI Aayog task force headed by Jaya Jaitly.

Senior officials of the Health, Women and Child Development, and the Law Ministries were members of a task force set up in June last year to examine matters pertaining to age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering MMR (Maternal Mortality Rate), improvement of nutritional levels and related issues.


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