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Amendment Bill for the Registration of Births and Deaths Act

Context:

A Bill to amend the Registration of Birth and Death Act 1969 is among the 21 new Bills listed to be introduced in the ongoing session of Parliament by the Union Home Ministry.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Bill to Amend the Registration of Births and Deaths Act: Enhancing Documentation and Aadhaar Integration
  2. Sharing Data and Significance
  3. Concerns Regarding the Bill

Bill to Amend the Registration of Births and Deaths Act: Enhancing Documentation and Aadhaar Integration

Background:
  • Ensuring the right to documentation and identification for every individual is essential for a dignified life.
  • The Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969 was introduced to facilitate the registration of births and deaths in the country.
  • Currently, Aadhaar is not mandatory for such registrations, but proposed amendments aim to give it legal significance.
  • Recently, the Registrar General of India (RGI) was authorized to perform Aadhaar authentication during birth and death registrations.
Key Points of the Bill:
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs proposes to make Aadhaar mandatory for tracking new births and deaths in families.
  • States will be required to compulsorily share data on registered births and deaths with the RGI, who will maintain its own register.
  • Presently, States only need to send annual statistical reports to the RGI.
  • The Bill also seeks to make birth certificates mandatory for various purposes, including school admissions, voter registration, marriage registration, passport issuance, government job applications, etc.

Sharing Data and Significance:

  • States will sign an MoU with the RGI to share the Application Programming Interface (API) for data access.
  • Some States have their own applications for issuing birth and death certificates, but they will integrate with the RGI’s Civil Registration System (CRS).
  • The shared database will update the population register or National Population Register (NPR), a step towards the creation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) or NRC.
  • Real-time updation will reduce the need for door-to-door enumeration and provide up-to-date population figures.
  • The database will also update other essential records like electoral register, Aadhaar, ration card, passport, and driving license databases.

Concerns Regarding the Bill:

  • Amending a 50-year-old law may turn a simple state exercise into a mechanism for population control, raising concerns about misuse.
  • It could lead to the creation of comprehensive profiles through Aadhaar linking, raising privacy and surveillance concerns.
  • Courts have previously recognized the fundamental right to privacy in cases involving Aadhaar databases (KS Puttaswamy case).

-Source: The Hindu

 


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