Prime Minister Narendra Modi today explained why his government thought of raising the minimum legal age of marriage for women at a public meeting in Prayagraj of Uttar Pradesh. Launching a slew of women-centric initiatives in District Prayagraj as he transferred Rs 1,000 crore in bank accounts of various Self Help Groups (SHGs), the prime minister transferred money also to more than 1 lakh beneficiaries of the Mukhya Mantri Kanya Sumangala Scheme, which provides assistance to the girl child.
In his opening remarks at the event, Prime Minister Modi said Prayagraj has been the land of the confluence of Mother Ganga-Yamuna-Saraswati for thousands of years and today, the pilgrimage city is witnessing a “wonderful confluence of women power”.
The prime minister said the direct transfer of money is benefitting the people courtesy of the Bank Sakhis. He stressed the entire country is watching the work done for the empowerment of women in Uttar Pradesh.
“Most of the beneficiaries are those girls who didn’t even have accounts until some time ago. But today they have the power of digital banking…Now daughters of UP have decided that they won’t let the previous governments come back to power,” the prime minister told the crowd.
Dealing with India’s supposed patriarchy, Prime Minister Modi said for decades, land and property were kept in the name of male members of the family but the Bharatiya Janata Party government is now “removing the anomaly.”
“The homes being given under PM Awas Yojna, are being constructed after women’s name. In UP, 30 lakh homes have been given and 25 lakh out of them are in the name of women,” he added.
Amid the union government’s attempt to bring in legislation to raise the minimum age of marriage for women to 21, Modi said daughters also want to pursue higher studies to move forward and get equal opportunities.
“Therefore, efforts are being made to increase the age of marriage for daughters to 21 years. The country is taking this decision for daughters,” the prime minister said.
Expectedly, Prime Minister Modi did not care to explain how the new law will apply to Muslims who are governer by the Shari’ah in civil matters. Not did he deal with the issue of fewer family planning opportunities in the reduced window of the period when a woman stays healthily reproductive. He also did not explain how the state can prevent pushing marginalised sections of society to illegal marriages or how the new law can tackle love jihad.