news Friday, April 10, 2015 - 05:30
In Odisha, more girls seem to be concerning themselves with having babies rather than going to school. The 2011 census has revealed that many girls below the age of 15 have been giving birth to children when they should be going to school, themselves. In fact, the data shows that the number of girls who become mothers before the age of 15 is 11,000. This ultimately points at a failure of various social welfare schemes that were announced for Odisha, reported Times of India .  Of the 59.09 lakh girls below the age of 15 who live in Odisha, 41,729 girls (0.7%) were already married. Around one-fourth of the married girls (10,685) in the same age group had delivered before celebrating their 15th birthday. While 3,896 (9.34% of those married) had become mothers of at least one child, 6,789 girls (16.27%) had delivered two children. Women's rights campaigners attribute the marriages and their early pregnancies to two main factors. "Tribals have a tendency to marry off their boys and girls early. Second, economically weak sections don't wait for 18 years for their girl's marriage for purposes of social security," said Namrata Chadha, a women's rights campaigner, according to the report. "Early pregnancy is dangerous for both the mother and child. This could be a reason behind the high infant and maternal mortality rates in the state," points out gynaecologist R K Purohit. 

 The data reflects his observations. Odisha's maternal mortality ratio (MMR) per 1,000 women is 235 in comparison to the all-India figure of 178. The infant mortality rate is 57 compared to 44 at the national level (SRS-2012).   

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