INDIA

Time and again Pakistan has been violating ceasefire at the Line of Control and it is the sixth time this year that Pakistan fired mortar shells at India; at an Indian school, precisely.

On the 18th of July, Pakistan’s military fired along the Line of Control (LoC), in a village called Naushera, in Jammu & Kashmir. The children at the school that was targeted by Pakistan had been stuck for over 4 hours inside.

However, the police and other officials retaliated soon after, and a few bullet proof trucks were arranged to the rescue, that ferried the kids to their homes safely. Although no casualties were reported, the trail of scars cannot be overlooked.

On this matter, Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, the chief minister, said that the deteriorating camaraderie within the two nations have to be stabilised and the countries have to work together towards curbing terrorism and towards welfare of the states, instead of firing at each other.

However, the conditions in Jammu & Kashmir are only getting worse. The violations of ceasefires in the past few days have killed militants, sarpanch and a number of innocent children.

Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed.
Image courtesy: Hindustan Times

Do you want to test your mental aptitude, logic, and dexterity? There is a wonderful platform to build fundamental experience and knowledge to excercise coordination skills at school level.

This program recognizes the dire need of technical exposure among the school students. Technothlon is an international school championship organized by the students fraternity of IIT Guwahati. This program is conducted as a part of dire annual techno management festival called TECHNICHE.

It is an opportunity to expose the innovation and creativity of a student in all it rawness. Technothlon began in 2004 with an aim to inspire young minds. Journey of Technothlon was started in a small room but with the participation of 200 students confined within the city of Guwahati over past 14 years, now they have expanded their reach to 400 cities all over India and also to various international centers.

Structure of Technothlon:

Students are allowed to participate in teams consisting of two members. They are two squads: junior squad-classes 9th and 10th and Senior squad-classes 11th and 12th.

The championship program is conducted at two stages:

  • Prelims: During month of July written preliminary exam takes place in numerous schools in and around India. Prelims is an general objective written exam. It relies only on the students logical and analytical thinking ability. Two team member are given a common question paper and answer sheet. They can discuss it among themselves and attempt the paper together. The time limit is two and half an  hour. These questions are designed to check the intellect and problem solving ability of students. This year next edition of Technothlon (prelims) scheduled for 16 July.
  • Mains: Mains is an event based competition. The selected teams of the same squad compete against each other in various events. Each team will have to face pre events from which top 5 teams will be selected for the final showdown.

The events vary every year, it was conducted during “techniche”, the techno management festival of IIT Guwahati, held during the time period of 31st August to 3rd September 2017.

There are various exciting prices awarded to winning participants of Technothlon. It also includes a guided tour of the NASA, USA for the winner in each squad.

Offline registration can also be done by contacting under signed participants who have registered already can access through Technopedia the online module of Technothlon.

To know more about Technothlon 2017, please visit technotholon.techniche.org

Indian farmers have had a rough time during the last decade. Farmers in India are poor inspite of high food price inflation. Food inflation is caused when there is a supply issue (failed monsoons, natural calamities, famine, crop destruction), when food produces perish due to bad weather, when there is damage while storing or during transport, due to centralised hoarding and black marketing by distributors. This causes an artificial scarcity of produce in the market. In these cases there is a food price inflation and customers pay more for food produce but farmers get no benefit from the price hike.

Whether there is an inflation or not farmers get only a fixed value for their produce which is called Minimum Support Price (MSP), which is fixed by the government, and a small bonus sometimes. The MSP does not allow for big margins. The condition is the same even when the procurement is made by private sales middlemen. So majority of the profit goes into the hands of the middlemen or processing or distribution companies and retailers. Farmers don’t get any benefit for the market price movements.

Many farmers avail loans and take credits for many things like buying seeds, fertilizers and irrigation equipments. Prices of seeds and fertilizers remain high even during drought conditions. By the time the crop is ready for harvest the farmer has to pay his debts. Most farmers don’t have the facility to store the produce after the harvest. He takes his produce to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee mandi. Here the farmers face transportation problems. The procurement infrastructure is much scattered and farmers do not have resources to bring their produce to mandis even when they are within 100 km from their villages. The farmers have to pay a transportation fee.

In the mandi the farmers are compelled to sell their produce to a specified buyer. The person in the mandi quotes a random price which is not acceptable by the farmer. Even in the government controlled auction centres officials and buyers conspire together secretly. Market is flooded with the produce and all the warehouses are full. The farmer is not able to do anything and he sells it at the price quoted by the commission agent in the mandi. Middlemen abuse farmers by buying their produce at low prices. Layer upon layer of middlemen mediate between the farmer and the consumer. The more the middlemen, the greater is the arbitrage and wider the gap between the price paid to the farmer and what the consumer pays.

Farmers struggle to sell their produce in the marketAgricultural Produce Marketing Committee prohibits the farmers from dealing directly with buyers and asks them to sell to licensed middlemen. The aim was to give India’s farming community a fair and consistent price for their produce. But over the years, the system has created several layers of intermediaries, lengthening the supply chain and increasing the opportunity for cartels to form, which in turn drive prices down for farmers and up for consumers.

Government announces MSP to insure farmers against any sharp fall in farm prices. The MSP is announced by the Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season on the basis of the recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. The MSP is fixed by the government to protect the farmers against excessive falls in price during bumper production periods. At such times the supply is high and the demand is low. The farmers can always sell their produce at MSP. If the market price is above MSP then they can sell it at market price. If the market price falls below the MSP during bumper production then government agencies should purchase the produce at announced MSP. Only a few food grains are procured by the Government of India and hence fixing MSP for various agricultural produces has no meaning.

The food grains which come to the mandi are first made available to the private traders. Only when there is no buyer left to buy the produce the Food Corporation of India buys the grains at the MSP. MSP was started as a safety net for farmers through a guarantee that if their produce is left unsold in the market, it will be bought by the government. The procurement price is the price which the government pays when it buys food grains which is needed to maintain buffer stock or for Public Distribution System. Once the government has purchased the required quantity the left over produce can be sold only at MSP.

Food grains in the mandiThe MSP is always less than or equal to the government declared procurement price. Also the procurement price is always lower than the market price. MSP is announced before sowing the crop and procurement price is announced before harvesting the crop. MSP was introduced around 60 years back and now it fails to safeguard the farmers. Moreover government announces MSP for 25 crops only. 86% of farmers don’t come under MSP protection. MSP is not provided for fruits and vegetables.

Farmers are crying out for attention. The farmers are the majority voters in India but the government is not paying any attention to them. Only when the farmers are given pricing power farming will become a sustainable sector. What a farmer wants​ is a fair price for his produce. Who will fix it – the farmer or the government?

Ahmedabad has been declared as a World Heritage City by the World Heritage Committee. It is India’s first city to get UNESCO’S heritage tag. The 41st session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee held at Krakow, Poland made the announcement.

The walled city of Ahmedabad is 600 years old. It was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah in the 15th century.The walled city has 26 ASI- protected structures and hundreds of ‘pols’ or neighbourhoods. It captures the essence of community living and is regarded as a living heritage. The secular co-existence of Islamic, Hindu and Jain communities along with exemplary architecture has made it a World Heritage City. Numerous sites are associated with Mahatma Gandhi who lived here from 1915 to 1930.

Ahmedabad has joined world heritage cities like Paris, Cairo and Edinburgh. The UNESCO tag will add immense value to Ahmedabad city.

Agriculture is a key factor in the Indian Economy and livelihood of the people in India. India is presently in the middle of another Green Revolution. New technologies are being used in the agricultural sector to deal with the high rate of population increase. Food security has become a very crucial issue. This has compelled the government to find alternative ways to feed the people.

The stagnation and decay in the agricultural sector is due to the age old, primitive and unscientific methods followed by our farmers. The most important problems faced by this sector are poor productivity, falling water levels, distorted market, controlled prices and inappropriate research. Nearly 50% of the workforce in India were farmers in 1951. It has come down to 24% in 2011. 67% of India’s farmland is held by marginal farmers with holdings below one hectare. Less than 1% of farmland is held by large holdings who have 10 hectares and above. Around 79% are small and medium farmers while 14% are landless farmers.

The first goal of the present Green Revolution is the transition towards sustainable agriculture. This includes implementing agricultural practices which will protect the natural resources and the environment, effective utilization of water resources and the reduction of harmful pesticides.

The second goal is diversification – to diversify the food basket. The population will benefit from a larger supply of fruits and vegetables.

Israel has semi-arid and arid climatic conditions. Geography of Israel is not conducive to agriculture. Israel is a large desert state with very limited natural resources. But Israel has succeeded in sustainable agriculture. It is largely self sufficient in food production. Israel is the global leader in water conservation and drip irrigation was invented in Israel. India has chosen Israel as a partner to promote the goals of “Green Revolution”. Agriculture is one of the main pillars in India-Israel relations.India and Israel join hands in agriculture

In 2008 Israel launched the India-Israel Agriculture Project. It aimed at setting up specialized agriculture centres across India. These centres are jointly run by MASHAV, Israeli agency for international development and India’s Ministry of Agriculture. These centres provide a suitable platform for a quick transfer of technology to the farmers. They target both large and small farm holders thus offering a wide range of agricultural practices in order to enable all to benefit from new technologies.

Experts from Israel regularly visit these centres and organize free training sessions for farmers. They teach them “protective agriculture” to increase their crop yields while using fertilizer and water optimally. The experts also visit the farms if needed. The idea is to transfer applied research and technologies to the farmers in various states across India.

As a large number of India’s workforce are engaged in agriculture, modernizing the sector is key to India’s secure and prosperous future. As India industrialises it’s economy it is urbanizing it’s landscape too. Ensuring food security amid rapid urbanization is crucial for India. Major crops in India are still very much dependant on unpredictable seasonal rains or monsoons. Irrigation and water management techniques pioneered by Israel can greatly benefit Indian farmers.

Israeli water technology company Netafim runs the world’s largest micro irrigation project in Karnataka, covering almost 30,000 acres and benefitting 6,700 small farmers.

Israel’s agricultural project in India is the largest engagement of its kind anywhere in the world. The project does not merely oversee the transfer of Israeli technology and solutions in India, but promotes joint development of crops and technologies in keeping with the local needs and challenges. Agricultural cooperation has undoubtedly emerged as the cornerstone of India-Israel ties.

We Indians never lag behind in anything, be it about our satellites that make us proud or our ever growing population that is one of our greatest economic issue. We always make it to the list! Once again, we are on the list but this time for a disease.

Depression, for those who are suffering from it, probably hearing it may have got your eyes teary and those who don’t must have thought they are about to read something sad and boring again. But either way one must know about depression.  It is simply a state of mind where a person remains in low mood which affects his thoughts, feelings, behavior and sense of well-being.  Extreme weepiness and severe melancholy are not the only symptoms of depression, a sudden habit of rash driving, making mean observations or even showing perpetual irritability are also some symptoms to be watched out for.

While earlier, it was seen as a ‘taboo’ point in India and people avoid discussing it, now the situation is different and it is handled with maturity like any other disease. The reason behind it may be the alarming situation and the volume of population affected by it (after all we come after United States followed by China). According to a research held by WHO,

  • 5% of Indian population suffer from depression (56,675,969) to be exact
  • The people affected by depression increased by 18.4% from 2005 to 2015.

This study was called, ‘Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders — Global Health Estimates’. It also reported about the anxiety disorder which affected 38,425,093 which was 3% of the population during the same period. The increasing depression cases have also caused an increase in death and suicide rates in the country. According to the same report in India 788,000 people committed suicide in 2015 while the figure of those who tried but failed is much more than this number. The report also tells most people committing suicide are below the age of 44 while suicidal thoughts occur to people between the age of 18-29. These suicides have become one of the top twenty reasons for death in India, 2nd to be exact.

So how do we get depressed, what is the reason behind it? Well, depression may be caused due to our hurried lifestyle and our modern competitive world. According to WHO’s report-

  • 5% of corporate employees suffer from depression.
  • 3 out of 100 residents of urban areas suffer from depression.
  • The rate of anxiety and depression among the corporate employees has increased from 45 to 50% during the period 2008 to 2015.

The main reason of depression is stress. Nearly 38.5% employees working in corporate sector sleep less than 6 hours a day, causing stress, hypertension, diabetes etc ending in depression. Students today are far more stressed than earlier regarding their career, education and employment.

There are many cultural and regional reasons for depression as well but those cases usually get sorted. The question arise here is why only a few countries like India are affected by depression? Is it because of the cultural background? Well to be accurate, it is because of the close society system we live in. In India, 1 in 5 people need counselling either psychological or psychiatric. About 36% of total population in India suffer from some major depression at some point of life. But they don’t get professional health as the society sees them as an insane person seeking mental fixations. Nearly half of the population suffering from severe mental illnesses​ are never treated. For depressive disorders, WHO said that the people with total Years Lived with Disability (YLD) in India was 10,050,411 which was 7.1% of total YLD.

All these facts clearly indicate that with the competitive lifestyle and our desire to conquer everything we are betting our lives and feeding the savage called depression. There is an old saying “health is wealth”, today we only see the wealth around us which can be earned and lost easily but avoid the one thing within us which should be our first priority.

The Indian Navy has been keeping a close tab on Chinese submarines entering the Indian Ocean Region through its very own military satellite GSAT-7, also known as Rukmini. GSAT-7 Rukmini, weighing nearly 2650 kg was the first military communication satellite developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the Indian Defence forces with the Indian Navy being the primary user. Rukmini is the last of ISRO’s seven fourth generation satellites.

Rukmini was launched early on August 30, 2013 a top an Ariane 5 ECA rocket from Kourou in French Guinea. This gave India a major push in maritime security.

It was successfully placed into a geosynchronous Orbit around 3600 km above Earth, nearly five days prior to its launch after atleast 3-orbit raising manoeuvres from ISRO’s Master Control Facility in Karnataka’s Hassan.

Rukmini is used exclusively by the Indian Navy to secure real-time communications between its numerous warships, aircraft, submarines and land-based communication systems.

The GSAT-7 also has an approximately 2000 nautical mile footprint over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). It is an advanced communication satellite that will provide a wide range of service spectrum from low bit rate voice to high bit rate data communication.

Scientists say, its payload is designed to provide communication capabilities to users over a wide oceanic region which include the Indian Land Mass.

India, a land of colors, cultures, religion and people(1.3 billion in number). Every region of our country has its own uniqueness and individuality that makes it important in its own manner. One such region is the north-east region of India. It consists of 8 states namely- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura, and the Himalayan state of Sikkim. Popularly known for producing the best quality of tea at the highest rate, this region has much more to offer.

It is one of the richest in terms of tourism, with places like

  • Tawang Monastery, Sela Pass, Gorichen Peak in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Tea Gardens, Kamakhya Temple, Madan Kamdev, Majuli River Island in Assam.
  • Dawki, Mawsmai Cave, Umiam Lake, Nohkalikai Falls in Meghalaya.
  • Dzukou Valley, Mon, Touphema Village in Nagaland.
  • Singda Dam, Loktak Lake, Shree Govindajee Temple in Manipur and much more in the remaining states.

Apart from these places the rich flora and fauna also allures people to visit this place. Phayre’s Leaf Monkeys, Red Panda, Sangai Deer, Great Hornbill are some of the examples of its rare fauna. The festivals of Bihu and Hornbill marks the presence of a diverse culture in the people here. But all of it has been said and seen, except for few things that the people of this region have been facing for a long time now.

The first thing is the natural calamities. This region is affected by three major natural hazards: floods, earthquakes and landslides. According to National Disaster Management Authority of India, following is the data with respect to the natural disaster in this region-

S. No. Name of Event Year State & Area Fatalities
1 Assam Floods July – Aug 2012 Assam
2. Sikkim Earthquake September 2011 Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar 60
3. Sikkim Earthquake 2011 North Eastern India with epicenter near Nepal Border and Sikkim 97 people died (75 in Sikkim)
4. Drought 1987 15 States 300 million people affected
5. Drought 1972 Large part of the country 200 million people affected

Then, comes Earthquakes being the most dangerous and unpredictable disaster and this is the second adversity that North Eastern regions faces. The northern and north-eastern regions, being mountainous Himalayan regions are more prone to being affected by frequent earthquakes. The north-eastern part of the country is not only located at the center of one of the most active earthquake prone regions of the country, but is also exposed to very high damage given the nature of the terrain.

Relief operations in the area become slow due to the great landslides that are triggered by earthquakes.  The Assam Earthquake of 1897 was one of the earliest recorded in the region and the most devastating. The earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 Mw measured 7.1 on the Richter scale. Recorded the oldest in June 1897 was just the beginning. It was followed by some deadliest earthquakes like on August 1950 in Assam again, September 2011 in Sikkim, June 2015 in Dibrugarh (north Assam) and January 2016 in Manipur. Along with these floods are a recurring annual feature of Assam when Bramhaputra and its co-tributaries, with very large catchments, are flooded exceeding the limit with full discharge and submerge a substantial part of Bramhaputra plains.

As if the natural calamities were not enough to trouble these people they also face another serious issue – racism, throughout the nation. A person from this region of India when sets out to pursue his dreams, little does he know that he/she might end up being a victim of many crimes just because of his distinctly different appearance. The lifestyle of such people is much more different along with their cultures and all of this becomes a point of humor for senseless and insensitive youth.

Especially in North-Eastern India and such people are bullied and are called out by various names such as ‘chinky’, ‘momos’, ‘yellow friend’, ‘cheeni’ etc. along with verbal abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment is a part of their daily routine. And they are usually left with no other option other than being quiet unless someday something brutal like rape or murder happens. In a recent study held by North-East Support Center and Helpline (NESCH), it is shown that 78% youth from this region living in Delhi face racial discrimination.

Crime against women, human trafficking and violence against people of different community is also a major concern.

  • 96 criminal cases were received out of which 58% were crime against women (molestation, beating, rape or attempt to rape)  and 26% were against men.
  • 5% murders, 6% non-payment of salary, 3% to missing person and 1% media bias.

Main cause of such discrimination is the opinion formed upon one’s appearance and culture.

All this surely presents the alarming situation of the youth today and also the hard life of people belonging to the north-east region of our country that need our attention and help not our judgmental comments and hatred. This could be a question to all the Indians out there, who think they believe that India has Unity in Diversity! Why so less attention is paid to this region and all the headlines are made to metro-cities like Delhi, Mumbai. It’s time to accept as Indians, their identity is as crucial as any other Indian residing in any other part.  So, think DOES INDIA REALLY PROPAGATE UNITY IN DIVERSITY?

Remember the time back in school when parents would ask the teachers to give extra attention to their child in class or an extra hour after school or in the evening so that the child may receive extra knowledge from the teacher apart from class. The reason behind was thought to be simple, that it might be difficult for a child to learn among so many studentst. But the modern education system today has changed the meaning of this “extra attention” altogether and these are called home tuitions and coaching centers.

These have become more like a trend today and for a teacher it is an extra income source. Home tutors in many cases are not even qualified to teach but do so, as it is an easy source of income. They charge hourly and teaching is strictly professional for them. “My daughter’s tutor charges Rs. 500/hour and when she asked some extra sums, he either refuses to tell or makes sure he teaches for at least 15 minutes or half an hour extra so that he may combine those extra time and charge for an extra hour at the end of the month” said the mother of a 10th grade student.

The condition is same everywhere while in some cases the students are sharp enough and tuition is just provided as a fashion and in other situations students need extra attention and fail to score high even after tuition. And for teachers well they can charge whatever they wish to earn and it is usually from 1000 to 4000 rupees per hour.

Another phenomenon in the education system today is coaching centers. The motive behind these was to coach the needy students in group. Today, it has become a trend for students to go to the coolest coaching center where all their friends go and study together. These coaching centers usually come to aid those students who get involved in love affairs. The teacher’s avoidance gives them courage and mislead the soft adolescence mind.

According to a survey held in 2015, by ASSOCHAM, 87% of primary school students and 95% of high school students in metros receive private tutoring. In the last six years, the number of primary school children taking private tuition increased by 100% while the number of high school students enrolling in tuitions increased by 92%.  The teachers only care about fees and once they receive it they do not care about the street fights happening outside the premises among students, they do not care about the things the students​ do inside their premises as well.

That was just a mini version of all the madness that is going around the country. Coaching is not limited only to primary and secondary levels. From RRB to SSC, from IAS to CAT, coaching centers come to rescue. In fact many cities in India are famous for the number of coaching centers they have. For instance Kota is there, which is called the educational hub of India. It holds a large number of coaching centers for a variety of competitive exams.

But the truth behind its honor is quite different. Today they hold around two to four hundred students in a class (way more than a class in college or school) and usually the seats are not enough. Many of the students in these centers spend 8 hours either standing or sitting uncomfortably, with no AC and other basic facilities such as water cooler.

Here, is the list of some renowned coaching institutes​ and the number of students they hold-

Institute Year founded No. of students
Bansal Classes 1983 17,000
Resonance Eduventures 2001 19,000
Career Point 1993 21,000
Vibrant Academy 2008 9,200
Allen career Institute 1988 30,000

The students are treated like robots and are expected to study 10 hours in class and 10 hours by themselves. They are highly discriminated according to their marks and those who score low are insulted and morally molested by the teachers (who consider themselves no less than god!). Such is the pressure which in turn leads​ to depression at a young age, they become suicide prone, and drugs are commonly seen as an alternate solution. About 70% of students in such coaching classes are depressed and surrounded by suicidal thoughts.

They take money from us with a promise of imparting knowledge and in return what we get is 100% torture. Who is to be blamed for all this? Is it the founders of these centers who behave like a hungry predator? Or the parents and students who feed them with their money? Or does our education system have flaws and has become increasingly competitive and examination oriented? Who is to decide the answer but, most importantly, who is to bring the change?

Marriage before the age of 18 is a fundamental violation of human rights. Many factors interact to place a girl at risk of marriage, including poverty, the perception that marriage will provide ‘protection’, family honor, social norms, customary or religious laws that condone the practice, an inadequate legislative framework and the state of a country’s civil registration system. Child marriage often compromises a girl’s development by resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement and placing her at increased risk of domestic violence. Child marriage also affects boys, but to a lesser degree than girls. Despite modern times and a massive awareness program, child marriages continue to take place in Odisha.

Children who have resisted parental and societal pressure to get married before the legal age have joined hands to bring an end to the regressive practice in Odisha. As many as 33 boys and girls recently formed the ‘Odisha Child Marriage Resistance Forum’ and resolved to prevent untimely marriages and spread awareness among parents.

“As per the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)’s data released in 2013, Ganjam district has the highest number of child marriages in Odisha with 63 percent of girls getting married before 18 years,” says District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) Subodh Kumar Sarangi.

Pity conditions: 

In February this year, a 12-year-old girl of Chandanpur village under Golanthara Police station in Odisha’s Ganjam district was rescued by the Childline from being married off to a 21 years old boy. After the NGO stopped the marriage, the guy started threatening the girl’s family of abducting her and therefore the girl is now being kept at children home. She is one of five daughters of her parents. In a similar case, the NGO had, in June last year, saved a 12-year-old girl belonging to a tribal community from being married off to a 22-year-old guy in Jhagadei village of the district.

These two cases are among the many cases of child marriages being reported from Ganjam district.

Who decides?

The first question that comes to my mind is ‘Who is responsible when a girl is wedded before she turns 18 and becomes a mother — Is it the parents, the in-laws, neighbors, teachers, government or the child herself?’ Does anyone think on how marrying early and giving birth to a child at such a young age affects both the physical and mental health of the young girl?

Adolescent girls becoming mothers at an early age are most vulnerable to health problems and pregnancy-related complications. India has the world’s largest child population at 400 million. As per the 2011 census, around 253 million children in India are adolescents (in the age group of 10-19 years).

India also has the highest number of child brides in the world. UNICEF’s State of World’s Children 2014, ranks India 12th among 20 countries with a high rate of child marriages; India ranks first in absolute numbers though. Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have the highest incidence of child marriage. In Odisha, around 37 percent children marry before the legal age and this is rampant mostly in the southern districts.

Shocking numbers: 

 

Age

Married

Widowed
15 28,055(Boys-7,226, Girls-20,829) 1,473 (Boys-389, girls-1,084)
16 29,965 (Boys-7,940, Girls-22,025) 926 (Boys-251, Girls-675)
17 41,925 (Boys-8,319, Girls-33,606)       833 (Boys-270, Girls-675)

 

Source: Census of India 2011

Taking a stand: 

ActionAid, an international voluntary organisation, and UNICEF have come forward to support the initiative of these brave children. Odisha is home to 3,232 children aged between 15 and 17 who have lost their spouses; 66 percent are widows, most of whom, by anybody’s guess, will remain widows for the rest of their lives.Early marriage, besides its several ills, also poses severe health risks to young girls, with premature childbirth leading to death is the single biggest risk of all.

What can be done to eradicate child marriages?

Sarangi opines that child marriages can be eradicated if various stakeholders including Child Development Project Officers, Police, Anganwadi centers and Child-line take stringent action against any case of child marriage before them. “Similarly, the society needs to accept that a girl is also a citizen of free India and has equal right to live her childhood,” he adds. On the other hand, director of Child-line (Berhampur) Sudheer Sabat suggests that leaders of different communities should be made aware and sensitized regarding the disadvantages of child marriages.

“These leaders can play the major role in changing the mindset of the people in their communities as people would listen to them. Besides, the youth committees can organize orientation programs at Anganwadi centers to create awareness among people about different schemes of the government related to women and child development,” he says.