India accounted for 33 percent of all child marriages in the world in 2011, with nearly 103 million Indians getting married under 18 years old, according to a new report.
The non-government report, "Eliminating Child Marriage in India: Progress and Prospects", cited by the Hindu, an English-based Indian newspaper, was released by ActionAid on Friday, analyzing data from the 2011 census.
30.2 percent of the married female population were child brides, said the report.
The report also pointed out that 75 percent of child marriages occurred in rural areas in 2011. The number was higher for the entire period between 2007 and 2011, at 82 percent.
Shabana Azmi, actor-activist and leader of ActionAid India, said that the causes of child marriages need to be solved.
"Patriarchy is at the root of child marriage, and patriarchy has to be tackled completely to eliminate child marriage. Spreading education and building confidence amongst girls enables them to resist child marriage and chart their own lives," said Azmi.
Srinivas Goli, author of the report and Assistant Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University's Center for the Study of Regional Development, said: "India needs to realize that child marriage is not just a human rights or gender issue. It is a huge demographic, health, education and economic issue. If we cannot eliminate child marriages, it will become a huge hindrance to India's economic prospects in the form of an unhealthy and unskilled workplace."