In 2020, the Ministry of Women and Child Development of Government of India set up a Task Force to examine matters pertaining to the age of motherhood, particularly maternal mortality rate (MMR) and nutritional levels, with a mandate to provide recommendations for legislative response by July 31, 2020.
Considering the remit of the Task Force to examine the correlation between age of marriage and motherhood with key health, medical, wellbeing and nutritional status as well as higher education of girls and young women, 96 civil society organisations that uphold rights of young people, including their right to be heard on all matters that affect their lives, collectively initiated the ‘Young Voices’ process in June, 2020. Within the three weeks that followed its commencement, ‘Young Voices’ was able to involve around 2500 children, adolescents and youth in rural, peri-urban and urban areas, predominantly from the most marginalised communities across 15 States. A significant number of the young people are involved in individual and collective activism.
The Young Voices National Report documents the process of collecting the views of young people, the findings of this enquiry and the young people’s engagement with the Task Force. The paper includes a list of 19 demands from young people.