The National Family Health Survey (NFHS 5) statistics pertaining to child marriage among southern states showed that Andhra Pradesh was at the top with 29.3%. The NFHS 5 was conducted from July 2 to November 14, 2019, and covered as many as 11,346 households.
The rate of underage marriages in the state was recorded at 33% in the last survey. The survey refers to women between the age of 20-24 who were married before they turned 18.
Child Marriages In Andhra Pradesh
According to a report in The New Indian Express, some districts in the state recorded an increase in the cases of child marriages. The survey also documented cases where several women in the age group 15-19 years have already become mothers.
The report stated that the Anantapur and Prakasam districts of the state recorded the highest underage marriage of 37.3% followed by the Kurnool district with 36.9% child marriages. It also highlighted that Prakasam and Kurnool districts had recorded a marginal decline in the instances of child marriages in comparison to the last survey.
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) officials were quoted saying that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused the number of child marriages to increase in the state. ICDS official PD K Karuna was quoted in a report saying that the parents were marrying off their minor daughters under social and financial pressure and that they are unaware of the adverse effects of the same.
Telangana state stood second among the five states in the rate of child marriages with 23.5% while Karnataka stood third with 21.3%. States Tamil Nadu and Kerala registered 12.8% and 6.3% rates of child marriages which are relatively lower than other states.
In spite of child marriages being illegal and having interventions to curb them many regions still practice it. A 2021 survey by Save The Children showed that child marriages resulted in the death of over 60 girls every day across the globe. The study titled Global Girlhood report inferred that an estimate of 22,000 girls lost their lives every year as a consequence of being married early.
The report stated that in the South Asian region, around 2,000 deaths were recorded with six girls dying each day. It was followed by East Asia and the Pacific.
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