National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) was conducted in the year 2019-20 by the Central Government of India in Assam.
Further as per the survey, in Assam around 11.7 per cent of woman/minor has conceived and given birth to a child, which proves that the role of child marriage is dominated in certain parts of the state.
Diving further deep into the data, Dhubri district registered 22 per cent of women/girls gave birth at an early stage of life.
Notably, in South Salmara the data claimed 22 per cent of women became mothers at an early age, in Darrang 16 per cent, Kamrup 15 per cent, in Hojai 15.6 per cent, Bongaigaon 15.4 per cent, Nagaon 15 per cent and Barpeta 14 per cent which accounts the rate of child marriage in the prohibited age which the law do not permits.
The most concerning part are the highest among all districts is said to be Dhubri which registers around 50.8 per cent and 44 per cent registered in South Salmara, Darrang 42 per cent, Nagaon 42 per cent, Goalpara 41 per cent, Bongaigoan 41 per cent, Barpeta 40 per cent, Morigain 39 per cent and Dima Hasao 15 per cent.
On the other hand, district such as Jorhat and Sivasagar which is regarded as forward districts also recorded a child marriage of 24 per cent.
The average of child marriage as per the National Family Health Survey - 5 stands at 31 per cent.
Addressing a presser Assam Chief Minister asserted that the prime factor of the death of infants and mothers could be termed child marriage.
"The state cabinet has decided whichever girls are made to get married and are under 14 years of age, a case will be registered under the POSCO act," said Assam CM.
Further, for any child marriage which takes place at the age of 14 years- 18 years punishment will be given under Sections 15-16 from 2 years onwards, depending on the severity of the case. The marriage shall be called null and void.
Hence any cases related to those below 14 years will be registered under POSCO Act and cases related to the age group from 14-18 years will be registered under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
"The cabinet has directed the Assam police to conduct a drive against child marriage in the entire state and bring them to the books of law," the CM added.
Further, all the Gaon Panchayat secretaries will be additionally appointed as child marriage prohibition officers under Section 16 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
With this going forward the said officers will have to file an FIR related to any incident of child marriage.
Under the POSCO Act any girl who is under 14 years and defines different forms of sexual abuse including penetrative and non-penetrative assault as well as sexual harassment and pornography.
Whenever an illegal marriage takes even the boy will be termed as committing an illegal activity as per POSCO Act.
The contents of NFHS-5 are similar to NFHS-4 to allow comparisons over time. However, NFHS-5 includes some new topics, such as preschool education, disability, access to a toilet facility, death registration, bathing practices during menstruation, and methods and reasons for abortion.
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