Include child marriage issue in election manifestos, urges SPARSH.

child marriage
Dr. Dilip Barsagade

Gadchiroli March 8 (District Correspondent) Stating that free and compulsory education for all children under the age of 18 can play a pivotal role in ending child marriage, social organization SPARSH has urged the political parties to include this issue in the manifesto of the coming elections.

A research paper titled ‘Exploring Linkages and Role of Education in Elevating Age at Marriage for Girls in India’ was released today on International Women’s Day by Child Marriage Free India Campaign. SPARSH also published this paper in Gadchiroli to mark the International Women’s Day.

Releasing the paper in Gadchiroli, SPARSH, a coalition partner of Child Marriage Free India campaign, demanded that while the Centre and state government’s will and action to end this social crime is commendable and yielding results, firmer steps need to be taken to amplify this fight against child marriage. The NGO asserted that the education of all children up to the age of 18 years be made free and compulsory and also urged all political parties to incorporate this important issue in their election manifestos for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

SPARSH President Dr. Dilip Barsagade has sent the letters in this regard to all the major political parties of Maharashtra.

“Led by women activists and village leaders, we have been able to stop 12 child marriages in Gadchiroli district. However, there is an urgent need to make education a top priority across the country and we would also ask the government for total ban on child marriage in the state,” Dr. Dilip Barsagade, President of SPARSH said.

India, which is well on its way to reach tipping point to end child marriage and end this crime by 2030, can gain further momentum and direction if free and compulsory education becomes a reality, the paper has found.

“While both the Centre as well as state governments have been exhibiting a tough stance to end child marriage, the existing Right to Education to include all children up to the age of 18 could accelerate the pace to end child marriage,” Purujit Praharaj, lead Researcher for the report, said.

Child Marriage Free India campaign is a coalition of 160 NGOs across the country working with the governments in over 300 districts witnessing a high prevalence of child marriage and aims to end this social crime by 2030 from the country. In the last six months alone, 50,000 child marriages have been stopped nationwide through counselling while legal action was initiated in around 10,000 child marriages. Notably, elimination of early, child and forced marriages by 2030 is also a global commitment of the countries made under the aegis of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).




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