Marry late and have children even later, is Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s mantra to control population.
Azad was speaking at a function to commemorate ‘World Population Day’, the day India’s population crossed 1.17 billion.
Couples from backward areas, who had opted to marry after turning 18, were awarded by the health ministry at the function.
Jharkhand’s Rekha Kalindi, who bucked her family’s trend of getting girls married at the age of 12, was also awarded. HT had published her story in April.
Azad, however, protested against the awards. “There is no need to felicitate them as they were only following the law. Only people who opt to marry at 30-31 should be awarded,” he said.
The minister clearly needs to study the National Family Health Survey data (2005-06), which reports that 27 per cent women between 20 and 49 years got married before 15 years, 58 per cent before 18 years, and 77 per cent before 20 years.