Indian Context
The registration mechanism of birth and death in India is considered as permanent and compulsory, primarily for its value as a legal document and secondly for its usefulness as a source of statistics. The registration of birth and death has been enacted all over India through the enforcement of Registration of Birth and Death (RBD) Act –1969.
In India the data on vital statistics on birth and death is generated through the Civil Registration System. The RBD act ensures the legal and administrative framework for the civil registration system in India . In urban areas the municipalities are responsible for handling the process of manual registration of birth and deaths.
The 74th Constitutional Amendment Act in 1992 has provided the functional power of birth and death registration to the Urban Local bodies. Hence it is necessary to perform the expected role of Urban Local Bodies in ensuring the systematic registration of births and deaths in urban areas.
Even though a ‘birth certificate' is considered an assurance for a hurdle free future for our children, only 65% of the Indian population has gone through the registration process.
That is, with about 26 million births taking place in our country in a year; only about 17 million births are registered. Similarly in the case of deaths, only an average of 60% percent are registered every year
The data available on death registration shows that an average of only 60 percent of deaths that occurred, could be registered every year across the country. The concern over poor registration of deaths still prevails in the states of Assam , Bihar and Jharkhand. In these states, an average of only 30 percent of deaths are registered.
Hence it is important for these states to initiate steps and strategies to ensure at least the average level of registration. There are different reasons indicated for the poor registration of the births and deaths.
The key factor is the lack of awareness amongst the public on the importance of birth and death certificates