Woman Power in Child Marriage

This lady has been 'breaking' marriages for the last 15 years. But all for a good cause. Preventing child marriages is the mission of Rupa Shah, economics lecturer in a Kolhapur college. She goes to marriage pandals with her volunteers and disrupts illegal marriages of girls below 18. If she gets the information well in advance, she lodges a complaint with the police, who if alert enough, take action against guilty parents and prospective in-laws. Unfortunately, the police seldom act promptly as they are still in the traditional mould, they do not want to commit the sin of breaking a marriage.

Apni Beti, Apna Dhan (ABAD), which translates to "Our Daughter, Our Wealth," is one of India's first conditional cash transfer programs dedicated to delaying young marriages across the nation. In 1994, the Indian government implemented this program in the state of Haryana. On the birth of a mother's first, second, or third child, they are set to receive 500 rupees, or 11 USD, within the first 15 days to cover their post-delivery needs. Along with this, the government gives 2,500 rupees, or 55 USD, to invest in a long-term savings bond in the daughter's name, which can be later cashed for 25,000 rupees, or 550 USD, after her 18 birthday. She can only receive the money if she is not married. Anju Malhotra, an expert on child marriage and adolescent girls said of this program, "No other conditional cash transfer has this focus of delaying marriage... It's an incentive to encourage parents to value their daughters."[32]
The International Center for Research on Women will evaluate Apni Beti, Apna Dhan over the course of the year 2012, when the program's initial participants turn 18, to see if the program, particularly the cash incentive, has motivated parents to delay their daughters' marriages. "We have evidence that conditional cash transfer programs are very effective in keeping girls in school and getting them immunized, but we don’t yet have proof that this strategy works...