On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government would soon take a decision to amend the minimum marriage age for girls after receiving a recommendation from a committee set up to do so.
The prime minister said that the gross enrolment ratio of girls in education has been higher than that of boys in the country for the first time because of several government efforts in the last six years.
After releasing a commemorative coin of the Rs 75 denomination on the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Modi addressed a video conference.
“There is an important deliberation going on to decide what should be the ideal age of marriage for daughters, ” Modi said.
The prime minister said he had received letters from women from all over the world asking about the committee’s report and when the government would decide on it.
“I want to assure them, the government will soon take its decision after the submission of the report, ” Modi said.
In his speech on Independence Day, the prime minister declared that the government was deliberating on what the minimum marriage age for women should be and set up a committee to discuss the matter.
The minimum marriage age currently stands at 18 years for women and 21 for men.
Modi highlighted the efforts his government has made to fight malnutrition in the last six years.
The Prime Minister announced that his government has taken an integrated and systematic approach to addressing the malnutrition problem.
A multi-dimensional strategy has been adopted by the government to work on all those factors responsible for high malnutrition, he added.
The government has started National Nutrition Mission, Modi informed.
POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Government of India, which ensures convergence with various programmes i.e., Anganwadi Services, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) of MWCD Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), National Health Mission (NHM), Swachh-Bharat Mission, Public Distribution System (PDS), Department Food & Public Distribution, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation.
The goals of NNM are to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner during the next three years beginning 2017-18.
Highlighting other achievements, the prime minister said that under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the government has built 11 crore toilets across the nation and has launched the Jal Jeevan Mission to provide piped drinking water.
The government is also providing poor women with sanitary pads at Re 1, he further noted.
“For the first time, the gross enrolment ratio of girls in education is more than that of boys because of these efforts,” Modi said.
On malnutrition, the Prime Minister noted that in recent decades, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has closely followed India’s fight against the problem.
Some departments in the country made efforts at various levels, but the scope was either limited or scattered, he pointed out.
Modi said tender-age pregnancy, lack of education and knowledge, insufficient access to pure drinking water and lack of cleanliness were some of the factors that could not achieve the desired results against malnutrition earlier.
Modi said he had begun numerous projects in Gujarat to combat malnutrition while he was the state’s chief minister.
Modi supplemented the FAO by playing an important role in increasing farm production and making efforts around the world to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, including over the past 75 years in India.
The Prime Minister said the Rs 75 denomination commemorative coin had been released in recognition of the contribution and services of the FAO.
He also thanked the FAO for supporting the proposal by India to announce 2023 as the International Year of Millets and said that this would increase the availability of coarse cereals and increase small and marginal farmers ‘ incomes.
The state, Modi said, is making efforts to increase millet production and boost market demand.
The prime minister also dedicated to the nation 17 recently developed biofortified varieties of eight crops.