Worried about child marriage, government rewards informants – the New Indian Express

Express news service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In order to reduce child marriage in the state, the government has decided to create a “secret fund” to facilitate the granting of incentives to informants who report cases of underage child marriage to the authorities. The government has set aside Rs 5 lakh for the purpose of the current fiscal year and the project will continue in the years to come. In accordance with the government decree, an informant will receive an incentive of Rs 2,500 for reporting an incident.

According to official reports, child marriage is still prevalent in the state, as around 266 complaints were received by authorities between January 2019 and July 2020. According to the Unicef ​​report, 8% of young women married in their childhood in the state. Biju Prabhakar, secretary in charge of the Ministry of Social Justice, said the decision was made as part of efforts to tackle underage girl marriage.

“Unofficial data indicates that the threat of child marriage is much more serious than we think. Inciting informants is one of the measures taken to contain the practice, ”he said. Biju Prabhakar added that incidents of child marriage were widely reported in many districts of the state, including Malappuram.

“Existing social practices and the fear that girls will choose their own partners after they become adults lead parents to give consent to such marriages. If these people travel to other states where anti-child marriage laws are not fully enforced, such cases would be difficult to detect. There have been several cases of underage marriage in Ooty. Minors are also married using forged age-related documents, ”he said.

According to the government’s plan, the director of the Department of Women’s and Children’s Development will be in charge of managing the fund, which will be managed in the same way that the police do with their secret fund. The manager will be responsible for anonymizing informants and the amount will be paid personally and not through the bank account to protect the identity of the informant.

266 complaints in 19 months
According to official reports, child marriage is still prevalent in Kerala, as around 266 complaints were received by authorities between January 2019 and July 2020. According to the Unicef ​​report, eight percent of young women were married in their childhood in the state.

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