By Bernadette Rai
New Delhi, May 23, 2006: The Chief Registrars of Births and Deaths from the States and Union Territories of India met in New Delhi for a two day Annual National Conference to discuss and review the status of registration in the country. The conference was inaugurated by Mr. B S Lali, Secretary, Border Management, in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the two days of deliberations was chaired by Mr. D. K. Sikri, Registrar General, India.
Speaking at the event Mr. B S Lali said, “Accuracy of data and its exhaustiveness is a pre-requisite to any delivery system. While it is possible to achieve this accuracy in some states, there are reasons that impede the increase in the levels of birth/death registration in the low performing states. Therefore, there is a need to identify the reasons, look for solutions and implement strategies in a tThe states have made slow but steady progress in terms of allocation of separate budget for the work of birth and death registration. ime bound manner.”
Besides the Chief Registrars, representatives from the Department of Family Welfare, Ministry of Women and Child Development, State Census Directorates, State Secretaries from Karnataka, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat and representatives from Plan India also participated in the conference.
The consultation began with a review of the action points laid down in the last conference. The status of compilation of annual statistical reports has improved marginally; 16 states have compiled and submitted their reports to the Registrar General. Seven states including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have convened their Inter-Departmental Coordination Committee meetings and training of registration functionaries have been carried out in most states.
A total of 9,310,228 birth certificates were issued in the last one year as a part of the Second Phase of the National Campaign on the issuance of Birth Certificates by 16 States and Union Territories; with Karnataka taking the lead.
In 2004, the level of birth registration in Tamil Nadu increased from 93.6% in 2003 to 99.3%. In Gujarat, it went up from 84.7% in 2003 to 97.4% in 2004. During the same period Rajasthan registered an increase from 46% to 56.8%, Madhya Pradesh from 41.3% to 50.9%, Bihar from 3% to 11.5% and Andhra Pradesh from 57.5% to 63.6%.
In addition, all States and Union territories agreed on a standard format for birth and death certificates with uniformity on the content, size and quality of paper. However, regular monitoring needs to be strengthened especially in the low performing states. In an analysis presented by the Registrar General, he said the low priority accorded to the work of birth/death registration, lack of coordination, inadequate funds, lack of awareness amongst the general public, and ignorance about the rules, duties and responsibilities amongst the registration functionaries were some of the major reasons that hampered the work of registration in the country.
To galvanize the civil registration system and improve regular monitoring in the five major low performing states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the Registrar General office’s will monitor the developments in these states on a monthly basis.