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High prevalence of child marriages was found in Bihar, West Bengal and Tripura, where over 40 per cent women were married before they turned 18, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
The survey covered 22 states and UTs in the country.
Andhra Pradesh (12.6 per cent), Assam (11.7 per cent), Bihar (11 per cent), Tripura (21.9 per cent), West Bengal (16.4 per cent) reported the highest number of women aged 15-19 years who were already mothers or pregnant at the time of the National Family Health Survey-5.
The NFHS-5 is being conducted on 6.1 lakh sample households, involving household-level interviews to collect information on population, health, family planning and nutrition related indicators.
Bihar (40.8 per cent), Tripura (40.1 per cent) and West Bengal (41.6 per cent) were among the states where the highest number of surveyed women aged 20-24 years reported having been married before they turned 18, which is the legal age for marriage.
The NFHS results of 17 states and five UTs (Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Mizoram, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu) have been released now as Phase-I. Phase-II covering other states will be released next year, the Health Ministry had said.