Noida: FXB India Suraksha collaborative partner of Childline India Foundation (GB Nagar) and Independent Thought together organized a District Consultation on Child Marriage on January 24, to mark the National Girl Child Day.
A series of district level consultation was initiated in Uttar Pradesh for developing a state level action plan to address the issue of the prevalent practice of Child Marriage in the state. In continuation to this, a half day consultation on the National Girl Child Day was an effort to bring out an effective state level action plan for prevention of child marriage. The platform was shared by stakeholders working for the protection of the girl child who also raised several common concerns. Apart from discussing issues like child marriage being a pure rights violation of children, the discussions also focused on the clear role of the state in ensuring a law and order situation by protecting children from being married off. There were also debates on why right to free and compulsory education should be extended beyond 14 years to cover children up to 18 years of age in neighborhood schools.
District Consultation on Child Marriage is taking place to bring out an effective state level action plan for prevention of child marriage
Unfortunately, the practice of child marriage is still prevalent in India. According to a UNICEF report, nearly half the married women in India between the ages of 20 – 24 years have been married before the age of 18. Uttar Pradesh followed by Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal have the highest incidence of child marriage ranging from 51.9% to 68.2%. Considering the vulnerability of the state, 10 districts from Uttar Pradesh have been included in the government scheme launched recently by the ministry of health and family welfare. The districts are mainly in western UP and figure in the list of districts recording worst sex ratio in the state.
According to the latest data released by FXB India Suraksha, the statistics reveal that the cases of abuse against boys and girls have gone up from 299 to 322 and 141 to 212 respectively in the last one year, with a spike in the number of cases of child marriage, child labour and missing children in Noida, which itself states the grin situation of the city. To add to this fact, Satya Prakash, programme manager, FXB India Suraksha said, "We had rescued 12 girl children, who were forced to work as child labour, in 2013, but the number has spiked to 17 over 2014. Last year, we had intervened in six cases of child marriage and rescued the girls. In contrast, there were no cases of child marriages reported during 2013. He further adds that we at FXB India Suraksha work on a multi-sectoral strategy governed by the core principles of respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of girls and women".
FXB India Suraksha has also launched a nationwide campaign #ChildInMe to give voice to the children and their rights. The consultation was also a part of the campaign with the objective of engaging organizations and individuals working with children so as to progressively work towards protection of child rights.