In the last few years, various reforms have led India to script various success stories. The Global Report on Childhood 2019 published by an NGO called Save the Children, has appreciated India’s performance in reducing child marriages and improving indicators related to child health, giving us another reason to feel proud. The report also suggests a 25% decline in the rate of child marriage worldwide.
An excerpt from the report reads, “India has greatly reduced child marriage through legal reforms, programs to educate and empower girls, and public awareness campaigns.”
India has witnessed a 51% decline in child marriages since 2000 and this percentage rose to 63% since 1999. Amongst the South Asian counterparts, India has succeeded in reducing child marriages whereas the decline in child marriages of girls under the age of 15 years has been rapid. The report claims that had the rate of child marriage remained unchanged, around 9 million underage girls would be married off in India today.
In comparison to these numbers, it is a huge achievement. The report also enlists a few factors that have helped in curtailing this menace. These include economic growth, increasing rate of girl education, proactive investment by government and its partners in teenage girls and increased public awareness about the woes of child marriage.
As per the report, India has also excelled in reducing the percentage of teen births. Decline in teenage pregnancies at the rate of 63% since 2000 and 75% since 1990 has been observed. This accounts for about three-quarters of the global reduction in teen births during this period. It has resulted in over 2 million lesser teen births now as compared to the year 2000.
The report also ranks India at number 113 out of a total of 176 countries in the ‘End of Childhood Index Ranking 2019’. These rankings are done based on the performance of individual countries across eight indicators- child health, education, labor, marriage, childbirth, and violence.
However, a lot still remains to be done in the areas related to child health and education. While the report shows a considerable decline in the cases of child marriages and teen births but the ultimate goal should aim at eradicating these problems from the roots.