While presenting the Union Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1st, 2020 said that a task force will be set up to recommend marriageable age for women.
The Minister said that the gross enrolment ratio of girls across all levels of education is now higher than boys. At the elementary level, it is 94.32 per cent as against 89.28 per cent for boys. At Secondary level, it is 81.32 per cent as compared to 78 per cent, at higher secondary level girls have achieved a level of 59.70 per cent as compared to 57.54 per cent for boys.
“Health of mother and child are closely correlated. Nutrition is a critical component of health. To improve the nutritional status of children (0-6 years), adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers, our Prime Minister launched a ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ in 2017-18. More than six lakh anganwadi workers are equipped with smartphones to upload the nutritional status of more than 10 crore households. The scale of these developments is unprecedented,” Sitharaman said.
The government proposed to provide Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition-related programmes for the financial year 2020-21.
She mentioned that women’s age of marriage was increased from fifteen years to eighteen years in 1978, by amending erstwhile Sharda Act of 1929. “As India progresses further, opportunities open up for women to pursue higher education and careers. There are imperatives of lowering MMR as well as improvement of nutrition levels. Entire issue about age of a girl entering motherhood needs to be seen in this light. I propose to appoint a task force that will present its recommendations in six months’ time,” the Minister added.
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