Bihar is one of the hotspots of child marriage in the country and on average marriages of 67 per cent of girls below 18 years of age are solemnised every year, State Minister for Social Welfare Damodar Rawat said.

“Child marriages are a gross injustice to children as it proves devastating for their life,” he told a workshop ’Prevention of Child Marriages’ jointly organised by Women Development Corporation of Bihar and UNICEF.

“It is the need of the hour to prevent such marriages,” he said adding the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, was not being enforced properly.

Rawat said his department had launched ‘Kanya Vivah Yojana’ to provide financial help to those who marry after the age of 18 years.

He stressed the need for initiating a multi-sectoral dialogue on the issue, understanding the prevailing situation, mechanisms and structures available for the prevention of child marriage and to develop a plan of action based on the deliberations from the consultative process.

He also laid emphasis on designing an effective mechanism for proper implementation of Bihar State Child Marriage Act and developing a coordination mechanism within stakeholders for collaboration and partnership to prevent child marriages in Bihar.

Women Development Corporation Managing Director N. Vijayalaxmi also spoke.