The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act, 2023

Context: The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act, 2023 Birth certificate Act to come into force from October 1. An Act amend the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.

About the Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act, 2023

  • Birth Certificate will be considered as single document for availing several crucial services including admission to an educational institution, issuance of a driving licence, preparation of voter list, Aadhaar number, registration of marriage, appointment to a government job etc.
  • Create database of registered births and deaths which eventually would ensure efficient and transparent delivery of public services and social benefits and digital registration.

Features of this act

  • The Act grants authority to the Registrar General of India to oversee a national registry of births and deaths. Chief Registrars (appointed by states) and Registrars(appointed by states for local areas)  will be obligated to contribute data to this national database, while Chief Registrars maintain similar databases at the state level.
  • Earlier, there was a requirement for certain persons to report births and deaths to the Registrar.
  • Earlier medical officer in charge of a hospital where a baby is born must report the birth. Moreover, the Aadhaar number of the parents and the informant need to be provided. The rule also applied to in case of case of births in a jail, a hotel or lodge. 

Under this act, the jailor and the hotel manager need to provide all the relevant information. 

  • The list has been further expanded and will now include  adoptive parents for non-institutional adoption, biological parents for births through surrogacy, and the parent in case of birth of a child to a single parent or unwed mother.
  • Allows sharing of the national database with authorized authorities like population registers, electoral rolls, and others, subject to central government approval. Similarly, state databases can be shared with state-approved authorities.
  • Any person aggrieved by any action or order of the Registrar or District Registrar may appeal to the District Registrar or Chief Registrar, respectively. Such an appeal must be made within 30 days from receipt of such action or order. The District Registrar or Chief Registrar must give their decision within 90 days from the date of appeal.
  • The centralised database will also update the National Population Register (NPR), population registers, electoral rolls, ration card records, and other national databases as notified. Any use of the national database must be approved by the central government.
  • It will be compulsory for States to register births and deaths on the Centre’s Civil Registration System (CRS) portal and share data with the RGI.
  • It makes it mandatory for all medical institutions to provide a certificate as to the cause of death to the registrar and a copy of the same to the nearest relative.

Significance of this act

  • Improve the efficiency and transparency of public services and social benefits delivery through digital registration.
  • Curb duplication and errors in the nation’s present databases.
  • It will also give a clear picture of population figures in real-time.

Concerns associated with this act

  • The national database for births and deaths will be shared with authorities maintaining other databases, but such sharing is done without the person’s consent violates one’s Right to Privacy (KS Puttaswamy case).
  • Without a birth certificate, people may face difficulties voting, getting an education, getting married, or applying for government jobs. There may be instances where a child’s birth was registered but they ran away from home, or lost their parents in a natural disaster.If such a child wants to enrol in school, determining their age may be difficult.
  • Can be misused to target and label diverse or non-conforming populations, raising concerns about the emergence of a surveillance state.
  • Although all states are mandated to utilize the Civil Registration System (CRS) overseen by the Registrar General of India (RGI) for issuing birth and death certificates, some states have developed their own applications for this purpose.

Civil Registration System (CRS):

Popularly known as birth and death registration system, is the recording of vital events i.e., Birth, Death & Still Birth under the statutory provisions on continuous and permanent basis.

CRS falls under the Concurrent list of the Constitution of India. Vital statistics generated from civil registration significantly contribute to the formulation of effective and efficient evidence-based policy across multiple sectors.

The Registrar General of India: Founded in 1961 by the Government of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs. It organises, carries out, and analyzes the outcomes of demographic surveys in India, which encompass the Census of India and the Linguistic Survey of India. The position of Registrar is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary.

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