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- Child marriage is a global issue with the highest rates usually observed in African countries
- Poverty, gender inequality, and ignorance are the main factors that contribute to child marriage
- According to ICRW, 1/3rd of the girls in developing countries are married before 18 years of age
Ghana, August 14, 2017: I have a 16-year-old sister who studies in class tenth. She spends most of her time at school and spends the remaining hours playing with her friends, watching the TV and doing her homework. But imagine another 16-year-old girl taking care of her husband and kids, managing a family and running a house, instead of attending school? The practice of child marriage is a global issue. According to International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), one-third of the girls growing up in developing countries are married before they turn 18 and one in every nine girls is married before the age of 15.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),70 million girls will be married as children over the next five years if stringent efforts are not undertaken to alter the prevailing trend.
In Ghana, according to the 1992 Constitution and the Children’s Act (Act 560), the legal age for marriage is 18 years old. However despite the law, children are forced into marriage before they turn the specified age.
— ActionAid UK (@ActionAidUK) August 1, 2017
The practice of child marriage is increasing at an alarming rate in significant parts of Africa because of an inherent belief among adults that they can impose marriage upon girls. This largely denies the girl child to choose whom to marry, and when to marry leading to several health complications and even death.
John Abaa, a Senior program officer at Action Aid Ghana (AAG), an organization working on this issue in Ghana, believes that upon marriage, a girl is compelled to quit school and shift to a new place with new people, and take up roles that she is not mentally or physically prepared for. This, as a result, leads to isolation and depression, a growing cause of concern.
Child marriage is a human rights violation. However, despite laws against it, the practice remains rampant, in part because of persistent poverty and gender inequality.
While child marriage affects both the girls and the boys, the effects are more grave and disturbing on the girl child-
- Denial of rights
- Impact on the girl’s health, future, and family
- Waste of talent
FAILURE OF GOVERNMENTAL POLICIES
According to statistics by UNICEF, 96 girls at Bongo were found to be pregnant during the 2014-15 academic year, and the number increased to 111 girls in the 2015-16 academic year. Their figures were not only alarming but also the highest in the country.
Even though the government has devised policies and laws against child marriage and declared it a crime, the practice is still rampant. Greater efforts combined with help from other influential sectors of the society are needed to help curb this ill that currently engulfs the Bongo society.
Officer Abaa also believes the Social Welfare and Community Development Department and the Ghana Education Service have failed to perform their part to curtail the practice. In an interview with GNA in May this year, he said that these organizations need to speed up processes as they hardly followed up on reported cases of child marriage, adding that this enables the perpetrators to take the girls to the southern part of the country, thus ruining their chance to get back to school.
Beacon of Hope : Action Aid Ghana (AAG)
Action Aid Ghana (AAG) a non-governmental organization currently active in 6 regions of GHana, has six interventions like the Young Urban Women Project (YUWP), the Community-based Anti-Violence Teams (COMBAT), girls’ camps and clubs that monitor child marriages and marriage by abduction of the child bride, and also focus on their prevention and rescue.
AAG is at present assisted by funding from UNICEF, and is implementing a two-year campaign project aimed at making a significant impact on,
- Reduction of socio-cultural practices that promote child marriage
- Helping children acquire skills, knowledge and right attitude to resist child marriage
- Encouraging continuation of school education
Currently, the project is being implemented in 12 districts and 120 communities in the Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo, Upper East and Upper West Regions in Bongo, Ghana.
Since it’s inception in 2015, the project has been engaging actively with young groups to impart education and promotion of their rights and also supporting them with issues that concern them. To advance the reach and impact of the project, traditional, religious and opinion leaders are also being increasingly sensitized now and encouraged to “use their authority to abolish and modernize some of the cultural and religious practices that expose girls to early marriages and to strongly declare their stand against child marriage,” said Abena Anem-Adjei, the Project Coordinator of AAG in charge of the End Child Marriage Project, as reported by GNA.
— News Ghana (@news_ghana) May 26, 2017
Parents are also counseled to not hesitate in reporting cases of child marriages to child protection agencies like Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit and Department of Social Welfare and Community Development.
Senior program officer of AAG, John Abaa also told GNA, “We are making progress onwards ending child marriage as people are becoming aware of the negative effects of child marriage and supporting us to rescue girls from child marriage”.
Role of Traditional, Religious and Spiritual Leaders
Traditional and religious leaders in the Zorko community have also joined hands to come together to help create awareness and spread the word about the need to end child marriages in the area, because of the increasingly active presence they have.
The bodies that include the branch of the Presbyterian Church, the Catholic Church, the Christ Apostolic Church International, and the Muslem Community, among others pledged their commitment to help end child marriages by preaching and including the topic in their sermons.
— News Ghana (@news_ghana) August 11, 2017
A pledge to help curtail the societal ill was taken by these leaders at a community durbar organized at Zorko community in Bongo district by Action Aid Ghana.
According to GNA, Helen Adongo, an officer of the Social Welfare and Community Development warned parents against getting their daughters married before they turn the legal age that is 18 years old as this is against the 1992 Constitution and the Children’s Act.
— Min. of Gender Ghana (@MoGCSP_Ghana) May 22, 2017
According to her, parents force their daughters into matrimony when they get pregnant. Condemning the act, Helen believes in such a situation, the parents should take care of the daughters and let them continue with their education. Naba Victor Adendaa Awamyelum, the Chief of Zorko-Kodorogu and the Queen-mother for the area, Pognaba Ade-Ana Awamyelum also stressed upon education of the girl child and added that parents must be encouraged to give special attention to their daughters, as reported by GNA.
Malam Bashiru Ayoreyesia of the Muslem community (Ghana) believes God only cherishes happy families that could only be built by partners mature enough to take concrete decisions in favor of the family, as reported by GNA. Thus, to champion the cause, various religious leaders have pledged to preach against child marriage and to ensure that only mature people engage in it.
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With the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor in Varanasi on December 13, the whole of Uttar Pradesh will be lit up similar to Diwali-like celebrations. This year the people of the state will invoke Lord Shiva in their homes by lighting lamps on the occasion of the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor, the highest revered shrine of Hindu faith. Along with this, a laser show and fireworks will light up all temples, streets, 'crossroads' and other public places in Varanasi.
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The planners will celebrate the festival of 'Deepotsav' on the lines of the 'Grand Kashi, Divya Kashi' in the whole of Uttar Pradesh. For this every BJP worker will light a lamp in the village, town and city. The BJP believes that this will create a festive atmosphere with ideological commitment which will send out the message of strong cultural ethos.
After the inauguration on December 13 in the evening, the Prime Minister will take a tour of the Ganga river in a boat and perform the 'Ganga aarti'. During this tour, the Chief Ministers of various BJP-ruled states will also be present. The Prime Minister will hold talks with the Chief Ministers and public representatives the very next day. After this, Modi will visit the Swarved temple, Umrah, and a CNG plant in Shahanshahpur and leave for Delhi on December 14 in the afternoon.
Also Read : The Varanasi Hot Air Balloon Festival
On the day of the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor, all boats will be decorated with colorful lights which will be the main centre of attraction. An appeal has been made by the state administration to all the people to light lamps in their homes on the lines of Diwali celebrations. The people have been instructed to keep the streets and their locality clean and cooperate in the public cleanliness drive.
Diyas will be lit in every house, every temple, streets and BJP offices in the state. Unsplash
If political experts are to be believed, amid the ongoing Ram temple construction in Ayodhya, the BJP is once again trying to assert power through its ideological plank of Hindutva and its cultural agenda, while raising issues like building of a temple in Mathura.
A senior BJP leader involved in formulating the election strategy in Uttar Pradesh and working closely with the party's central leadership said that once again the party is going to celebrate Deepotsav on December 13.
Several BJP workers have been asked to make the occasion a grand success. BJP Kashi regional President, Mahesh Chandra Srivastava said, "On December 13, there will be a festive atmosphere in the state. Diyas will be lit in every house, every temple, streets and BJP offices in the state. We are going to celebrate a grand festival."
Kashi Vishwanath Dham, the work of which is in final stages, is the dream project of Prime Minister Modi. The corridor is now gleaming with lights. After the launch of the corridor, Chalo Kashi month' will also begin under which many programmes will be organised here.
After the inauguration on December 13 in the evening, the Prime Minister will take a tour of the Ganga river in a boat and perform the 'Ganga aarti'.Unsplash
According to the information received from the state government, a symbol of nationalism will be visible between Ganga and Lord Vishwanath temple which will give a new identity to Kashi. Idols of Rani Ahilyabai, Mother India (Bharat Mata), Kartikeya and Adi Shankaracharya will be installed in the Dham.
Kashi Vishwanath Dham is spread over an area of 54,000 square metre. The construction work of the Dham is being completed in two phases. The work of the first phase is in the final stage which includes construction of Mandir Chowk, Varanasi city gallery, museum, multipurpose auditorium, hall, devotee facilitation centres, public facility, spiritual house, Godoulia gate, 'Bhogshala', shelter for priests and sewadars, spiritual book palace, among others.
The statue of Mother India, a symbol of nationality, will also be seen between the Lord's court and the sacred Ganga. The idol of Kartikeya and Adi Shankaracharya will be installed in the grand courtyard of Kashi Vishwanath Dham. The statue of Queen Ahilyabai, who renovated the Kashi Vishwanath temple in 1669 will also be installed here. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Uttar Pradesh, diwali, Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi, December, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, ganga, BJP, corridor, nationalism, people.)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India's digital public infrastructure solutions can improve the lives of citizens around the world.
Speaking at the InFinity Forum organised by Bloomberg and IFSCA, he said via video link: "We believe in sharing our experiences and expertise with the world and learning from them as well."
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"Tools like 'UPI' and 'RuPay' provide an unparalleled opportunity for every country. An opportunity to provide a low cost and reliable 'real time payment system' as well as a 'domestic card scheme' and 'fund remittance system'."
According to the Prime Minister, India has proved to the world that it is second to none when it comes to adopting technology or innovating around it.
Also Read : Payment Modernization
"Transformational initiatives under Digital India have opened doors for innovative Fintech solutions to be applied in governance.
PM Modi cited successes achieved with 'Jan Dhan' Accounts, 'Rupay', 'FastTag', and other such initiatives taken by the Centre. He mentioned that last year, in India, mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time.
The Prime Minister said that fully digital banks, without any physical branch offices, are already a reality and may become commonplace in less than a decade.
In India, mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time.Unsplash
Besides, he said the time has come to convert these "FinTech initiatives into a FinTech revolution". "A revolution that helps to achieve financial empowerment of every single citizen of the country."
Furthermore, he emphasized on FinTech security. "Common Indian has shown immense trust in our FinTech ecosystem by embracing digital payments and such technologies," he said.
"This trust is a responsibility. Trust means that you need to ensure that the interests of the people are secured."
In addition, PM Modi said that finance combined with technology would be an important part of India's future development. "Our aim is to provide the best international financial services not just for Indians, but for the world," he added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : digital, India, prime minister, Narendra Modi, finances, digital payments, technology)
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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Nirmala Sitharaman, India, Toxic Wastes)