Launch of Mukhya Mantri Sukanya Yojna on anvil
Ranchi: The Jharkhand State Action Plan to End Child Marriage was released by Chief Minister Raghubar Das in Project Bhawan here today.
The alarming scale of child marriages in Jharkhand calls for urgent interventions on the part of a wide range of agencies. While nearly 38 percent of all women aged between 20 and 24 years are married off before the age of 18 years in the state, there is a close association between child marriages and teenage pregnancy. Interestingly, districts that register high prevalence of child marriages also reflect higher proportions of women aged between 15 and 19 years experiencing motherhood or pregnancy which adversely account for less than a quarter of all women availing of ten or more years of schooling.
Speaking at the function, the CM said, “Our government is committed to eradicating child marriage and malnutrition in Jharkhand. We will continue to work with UNICEF and civil society organizations to achieve this goal. The Government will soon launch the Mukhya Mantri Sukanya Yojana to support education of girls and end child marriage in Jharkhand.”
Dr Louis Marandi, Minister, Women & Child Development stated, “Let us all pledge to make Jharkhand malnutrition and child marriage free. The Government, together with UNICEF and other stakeholders including civil society partners, is working to improve education and health for all. I call on the media to help spread the information and create awareness about government schemes and programmes.”
Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India said, “Today marks a new beginning to our commitment to children especially girls. With government and people of Jharkhand we will be able to address two game changing initiatives – postponing age of marriage and ensuring adolescent boys and girls are educated, skilled and have employment opportunities. I will like to share three aspirations with the Chief Minister of Jharkhand –first, we must ensure that rights of girls are perceived as everyone’s responsibility, secondly, parents, communities including religious leaders and community leaders and front line workers see girls as equal individuals; and thirdly we must realize that every single one of us has a role to play in making a better world for children.”
The Department of Women and Child Development and Social Security, Government of Jharkhand has formulated the action plan which has been endorsed by all the key departments. It is aimed at empowering adolescent girls and boys and includes interventions such as actions for extensive capacity building of public functionaries, evidence-driven awareness campaigns based on the social behavior change communication strategy, mechanisms for effective delivery of programme relevant for empowerment of adolescents and system strengthening among others.