NEW DELHI: The Central government has set up a 10-member Task Force to examine matters pertaining to age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering maternal mortality rate and improvement of nutritional levels.
The formation of the Task Force headed by Jaya Jaitly was announced in a gazette notification issued on Thursday.
The Task Force will submit its report by July 31. Other members in the team are Member (health) Niti Aayog Dr. V K Paul, secretaries of higher education, school education, health, women and child development, legislative department apart from academicians Najma Akhtar, Vasudha Kamat and Dipti Shah.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had during her budget speech for 2020-21 proposed to appoint the task force to review the minimum age of marriage for women, study its implications on maternal health and submit its recommendations within six months.
The Finance Minister had said, "Women's age of marriage was increased from 15 years to 18 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.
She added: "There are imperatives of lowering MMR as well as improvement of nutrition levels. Entire issue about the 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."
The task force is trusted with examination of correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with health, medical well-being and nutritional status of mother and neonate, during pregnancy, birth and thereafter.
It will also suggest measures for promoting higher education among women and suitable legislative instruments to support the recommendations of the Task Force.
The Task Force will also work out a detailed roll-out plan with timelines to implement its recommendations. (IANS)