Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who on Saturday delivered his seventh consecutive Independence Day speech from the Red Fort, said that a committee has been set up to reconsider the minimum age of marriage for women.

“We have set up a committee to deliberate on the minimum age for marriage of our daughters,” the prime minister said in his address to the nation. “We will take appropriate decision after the committee submits its report.”

Modi also said that his government was determined to provide equal employment opportunities to women. “Whenever women have been given an opportunity, they have made India proud and strengthened the country,” he said. “Today, the nation is determined to provide equal opportunities for self-employment and employment to them.”

The minimum age for marriage for women in India is 18 years and 21 for men. In June, the Centre had formed a high-level committee under former Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitly to review the legal age for marriage for women. It was supposed to submit its recommendations by July 31. The committee had to examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with implications on the health of mothers and infants, impact of the age of marriage on infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, total fertility rate, sex ratio at birth and child sex ratio.

In 2018, the National Human Rights Commission had also suggested that the marriageable age should be uniform for both men and women in the country.

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