In a country as vast, diverse and spread out as India, it comes as no surprise that the officials are struggling to get all their information together. While birth and death certificates are mandatory, there are somewhere between 25 – 35% of births and deaths in the country, that go unregistered. While the Government is doing its best to improve the systems and get more people to work on this registration process, it is just not that simple.
What has the Government done to make a better system?
The Government began by incentivising hospitals to register births in India at the time that the event took place. They would fill out the forms and other details, and parents received about 21 days to complete the details like the name of the child. However, parents were even allowed to register their child at a later stage, within 21 days, so they could apply for and receive details from the hospital to apply for a birth certificate.
They also launched a website to coordinate the entire process, so people no longer had to travel to the office and spend ages waiting in queues. The website answered all the questions that a person could have about the process. It even had a list of the supporting documents needed to get through the process. Additionally, it allowed people to handle the entire process online, at their convenience, without having to step out of the house. Applicants have to create an account and can use this account whenever they are coordinating and corresponding with the Registrar of births and deaths. Other than registering for a birth certificate, this same account can also be used to make changes to the birth certificate if there are typos or errors. It can apply for copies of the birth certificate using it as well.
What are the benefits of a birth certificate?
Birth certificates are significant documents since they contain all the relevant information about the birth of the child, including the time, place and the weight of the child at the time. When parents are applying for one, if they are doing so without the assistance of the hospital, they need a letter stating the details of the child, at the time of birth.
Since birth certificates are an essential document for all, although the Registrar states that there is a 21 day period for parents to apply for a birth certificate, the Government allows people without one to apply at any point in time. The only challenge is that there is a lot more documentation needed at a later stage which can be quite difficult to gather since one of the requirements is a letter from the hospital. Getting a letter years later is not always possible, especially if that means travelling to the hospital in a different state and so on. Furthermore, there is a higher fee that has to be paid, if it has been more than three weeks.