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Ians

The Union Cabinet has passed a proposal to increase the minimum legal age for marriage of women from 18 to 21 years.

Sources said the government approved the proposal in a meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday.

Currently, the legal minimum age of marriage for men is 21 years and 18 for women. Sources said the proposal was based on the recommendation of NITI Aayog task force headed by Jaya Jaitly. Senior officials of the health ministry, women and child development ministry, and law ministry were members of the task force set up in June last year.

The task force was formed to examine matters pertaining to the age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering MMR (Maternal Mortality Rate), improvement of nutritional levels and related issues.

After the Union cabinet's approval, the government will amend the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act, and the Hindu Marriage Act to implement the new decision to increase the legal age of marriage of women," sources said.

In his Independence Day speech last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that to save the women from malnutrition they are married at the right age.

"The task force has also recommended that sex education be formalised and introduced in the school curriculum," sources said.

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