Context: According to the notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs’, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has allowed the office of Registrar General and Census Commissioner established under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 to perform Aadhaar authentication for such registration. Authentication process however is not mandatory.
About Birth and Death Registration in India
- History of Civil Registration System (CRS) in India dates to the middle of 19th century.
- In 1886, a Central Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act was promulgated to provide for voluntary registration throughout British India.
- Post-independence, Registration of Births and Death Act was enacted in 1969 to promote uniformity and comparability in registration of Births & Deaths across India and compilation of vital statistics.
- Registration of birth, death & still birth is mandatory.
- Registrar General, India at Union Government coordinates and unifies activities of registrations.
- Implementation of RBD Act is vested with State Governments.
- Registration of births and deaths is done by functionaries appointed by State Governments.
- Directorate of Census Operations are sub-ordinate offices of Office of Registrar General, India and these offices are responsible of monitoring of the Act in their concerned State/UT.
- Under Section 3(3) of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, the Registrar-General may issue general directions regarding registration of births and deaths in the territories to which this Act extends, and shall take steps to co-ordinate and unify the activities of Chief Registrars in the matter of registration of births and deaths and submit to the Central Government an annual report on the working of this Act in the said territories.
- Under Section 7(1) of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, State Government may appoint a Registrar for each local area comprising the area within the jurisdiction of a municipality, panchayat or other local authority or any other area or a combination of any two or more of them. The State Government may also appoint in the case of a municipality, panchayat, or other local authority, any officer or other employee thereof as a Registrar.
What changes has been allowed to facilitate Aadhaar Authentication?
- According to the gazette notification, the Registrar appointed under Section 7(1) of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 shall be allowed to perform Yes or No Aadhaar authentication, on voluntary basis, for verification of Aadhaar number being collected along with other details as sought in the reporting forms of births or deaths.
- The purpose of the authentication is to establish the identity of child, parent and the informant in case of births, and of the parent, spouse and the informant in case of deaths during registration of births or deaths.
- The State government and Union territory administration shall adhere to the guidelines with respect to the use of Aadhaar authentication as laid down by MeitY.
- Authentication process though not mandatory, aims to promote ease of living and better access to services based as per the Aadhaar Authentication for Good Governance (Social Welfare, Innovation, Knowledge) Rules 2020.
The Aadhaar Authentication for Good Governance (Social Welfare, Innovation, Knowledge) Rules 2020
- The Rules has been made by the Central Government, in consultation with Unique Identification Authority of India under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
- As per the Rules, Central Government may allow Aadhaar authentication by requesting entities in the interest of good governance, preventing leakage of public funds, promoting ease of living of residents and enabling better access to services for them, for the following purposes, namely:–
- usage of digital platforms to ensure good governance;
- prevention of dissipation of social welfare benefits; and
- enablement of innovation and the spread of knowledge.
- The rules however provided that Aadhaar authentication shall be on a voluntary basis.
- The Ministry or States desirous of utilising Aadhaar authentication shall prepare a proposal to justify such authentication and submit it to the Centre for making a reference to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
Changes Proposed in Aadhaar Authentication for Good Governance Rules in April 2023
Based on the amendment, any entity other than a Government Ministry or Department that desires to use Aadhaar authentication for the purpose of
- promoting ease of living and enabling better access to services, or
- usage of digital platforms to ensure good governance, or
- preventing dissipation of social welfare benefits, or
- enabling innovation and spread of knowledge,
- it shall prepare a proposal giving justification as to how the authentication sought is for one of the said purposes and in the interest of State and submit the same to the concerned Ministry or Department of the Central Government in respect of Central subjects and of the State Government in respect of State subjects.
- If the Ministry/Department is of the opinion that the proposal submitted fulfils such a purpose and is in the interest of the State, it will forward the proposal along with its recommendation to MeitY.