CHANDIGARH–The Government of India in a gazette notification issued
on June 4 has set up a Task Force to examine matters pertaining to age
of motherhood, imperatives of lowering MMR, improvement of nutritional
levels and related issues.
Union Finance Minister, during her Budget Speech for
2020-21 in the Parliament stated that “Women’s age of marriage was
increased from fifteen years to eighteen years in 1978, by amending
erstwhile Sharda Act of 1929. As India progresses further,
opportunities open up for women to pursue higher education and
careers. There are imperatives of lowering MMR as well as the improvement
of nutrition levels. The entire issue about age of a girl entering
motherhood needs to be seen in this light. I propose to appoint a task
force that will present its recommendations in six months’ time..”
(Ref.: Para 67 of the Budget Speech for FY 2020-21).
The composition of the Task Force is as under:
Ms. Jaya Jaitly (New Delhi) – Chairperson
Dr. Vinod Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog – Member (Ex-officio)
Secretary, M/o Health and Family Welfare – Member (Ex-officio)
Secretary, M/o Women & Child Development – Member (Ex-officio)
Secretary, D/o Higher Education – Member (Ex-officio)
Secretary, D/o School Education & Literacy – Member (Ex-officio)
Secretary, Legislative Department – Member (Ex-officio)
Ms. Najma Akhtar (New Delhi) – Member
Ms. Vasudha Kamath (Maharashtra) – Member
Dr. Dipti Shah (Gujarat) – Member
The Terms of Reference of the Task Force are as follows:
To examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with (a)
health, medical well-being and nutritional status of mother and
neonate/infant/child, during pregnancy, birth and thereafter, (b) key
parameters like Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate
(MMR), Total Fertility Rate (TFR), Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB), Child Sex
Ratio (CSR) etc. and (c) any other relevant points pertaining to
health and nutrition in this context.
To suggest measures for promoting higher education among women.
To suggest suitable legislative instruments and/or amendments in
existing laws to support the recommendations of the Task Force.
To work out a detailed roll-out plan with timelines to implement the
recommendations of the Task Force.
The Task Force may invite other experts to its meetings if and as required.
The Task Force will be provided secretarial assistance by the NITI
Aayog and will submit its report by 31st July 2020.Photo Courtesy:indatimes.com