Child marriages rampant in Odisha, says survey

August 17th, 2012 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Aug 17 (IANS) About six per cent of rural women in Odisha get married below the legal age of 18, according to a latest government survey released here Friday.

The annual health survey conducted in 1,798 rural and 566 urban units comprising a total of 456,413 households and 1,925,439 people in the state revealed that child marriages are rampant in rural areas.

“It varies from 0.5 percent to 24.7 percent,” Bishnupada Sethi, director of census operations in the state, told IANS.

The survey found that during 2007-2009, about 6.5 percent girls in rural areas and 3.2 percent girls in urban areas had got married when they were below 18 years of age.

While 0.5 percent girls below 18 years of age got married during 2007-2009 in Jagatsinghpur, 24.7 per cent of underage girls got married in the Maoist-infested Nabarangpur district during the same period.

India has been conducting the annual health survey in 284 districts of nine states - Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Assam - to get a comprehensive and reliable data primarily on the health status of women and children.

The field work for the survey conducted for 2010-2011 in Odisha was carried out by New Delhi based GfK Mode Pvt. Ltd. and Social and Rural Research Institute (IMRB International). It was monitored by the directorate of census operations, Sethi said.

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