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Amendments proposed to Births and Deaths law

Context:

The Centre has proposed amendments to a 1969 law that will enable it to “maintain the database of registered birth and deaths at the national level”.

Relevance:

GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and initiatives, Accountability and Transparency in Governance)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. How to Register a Birth or Death presently?
  2. About the accomplishment of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act in 1969
  3. Highlights of ‘Annual Report on Vital Statistics of India’ for the year 2018
  4. About the amendments to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act in 1969
  5. Registrar General of India

How to Register a Birth or Death presently?

  • The prescribed time limit for registration of birth or death is 21 days. Some States however register the births and deaths even after a year.
  • The birth or death certificate is issued free of charge by the Registrar concerned if reported within 21 days.
  • If reported within 21-30 days, it can be registered on payment of the prescribed fee.
  • Births and deaths reported after one year of occurrence shall be registered only on an order of the Magistrate of the First Class after verifying the correctness and on payment of the prescribed fee.

About the accomplishment of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act in 1969

  • The Government of India had enacted the Registration of Births and Deaths Act in 1969 to promote the compulsory registration of births and deaths. The Act made registration of births, deaths and still births mandatory in India.
  • The accomplishment of the objectives of this Act was, however, poor in India. Nevertheless, efforts have been made by the Union government to fill in the gaps.
  • By 2015, almost all states and UTs except Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland had achieved a registration rate of 50 per cent or above, according to the data. The results from NFHS-5 also present a wide range figures: The rate of registration of deaths was 37 per cent in Bihar; it was 100 per cent in Goa among 22 surveyed states and UTs.
  • The rural-urban divide was considerably wide in Bihar and Nagaland; rest of the states and UTs showed compatible levels of death registration in urban and rural areas.
  • Most districts of south Indian states exhibited higher levels of death registration in the past three years 2017-2020. All districts of Kerala and majority of Gujarat and Maharashtra recorded 90 per cent or above registration of deaths.
  • Rate of registration of births was exemplarily high among the surveyed states and UTs when compared to death registrations.
  • Universal registration of births (100% registration) was found in Lakshadweep and Goa; Kerala and Mizoram recorded 99 per cent registration.
  • The district data showed high levels of birth registration of children less than five years with the civil authority in the districts of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
  • Almost all districts of Bihar and some districts of Meghalaya and Nagaland showed comparatively low levels of birth registration with respect to other parts of the country. 

Highlights of ‘Annual Report on Vital Statistics of India’ for the year 2018

  • Arunachal Pradesh recorded 1,084 females born per thousand males, followed by Nagaland (965) Mizoram (964), Kerala (963) and Karnataka (957). The worst was reported in Manipur (757), Lakshadweep (839) and Daman & Diu (877), Punjab (896) and Gujarat (896).
  • The ratio was determined on the basis of data provided by 30 States and Union Territories as the “requisite information from six States namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal is not available.”
  • The number of registered births increased to 2.33 crore in 2018 from 2.21 crore registered births the previous year.
  • The level of registration of births has increased to 89.3% in 2018 from 81.3% in 2009.

About the amendments to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act in 1969

  • Presently, the registration of births and deaths is done by the local registrar appointed by States. It is proposed that the Chief Registrar (appointed by the States) would maintain a unified database at the State level and integrate it with the data at the “national level,” maintained by the Registrar General of India (RGI).
  • The proposed change is set to say that the Registrar General of India shall maintain the database of registered births and deaths at the national level, that may be used to update:
  • Population Register prepared under the Citizenship Act, 1955
  • Electoral registers or electoral rolls prepared under the Representation of the People Act, 1951
  • Aadhaar database prepared under the Aadhaar Act, 2016
  • Ration card database prepared under the National Food Security Act, 2013
  • Passport database prepared under the Passport Act
  • Driving licence database under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 201
  • Other databases at the national level subject to proviso of Section 17 (1) of the RBD Act, 1969.
  • If the amendments are implemented, the Centre could use the data to update the National Population Register (NPR), first prepared in 2010 and revised through door-to-door enumeration in 2015.
  • Another proposed change is the appointment of Special Sub-Registrars, in the event of disaster for on the spot registration of deaths and issuance of extract thereof.

Registrar General of India

  • Registrar General of India was founded in 1961 by the Government of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It arranges, conducts and analyses the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India.
  • The position of Registrar is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary.

-Source: The Hindu

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