Surpassing Rajasthan, Bihar and even Haryana, West Bengal has now topped the charts with the highest number of child marriages in the country.
The national average for child marriages presently stands at 11.9 per cent of all girls aged 15-19.
The National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), conducted in 2015-16, found that there has been a steady decline in child marriages, mostly owing to education and rise in literacy rate. However, Himachal Pradesh and Manipur have shown a marginal rise in numbers.
West Bengal's Murshidabad district tops the chart with 39.9 per cent cases followed by Gandhinagar (39.3 per cent) in Gujarat and Bhilwara (36.4 per cent) in Rajasthan.
In 2005-2006, Bihar recorded the most numbers of child marriages, followed by Jharkhand, Rajasthan and West Bengal. Ten years later, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan saw a 20 per cent decline in cases, but Bengal only witnessed a 4.8 per cent drop.