The Central government is planning to revamp the Civil Registration System (CRS) to enable the registration of birth and death in real-time with minimum human interface that will be independent of location, according to the 2020-21 annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The CRS, run by the Registrar General of India (RGI), is linked to the National Population Register (NPR), which already has a database of 119 crore residents. The report said there was a need to update the NPR again, first collated in 2010 and updated in 2015 with Aadhaar, mobile and ration card numbers “to incorporate the changes due to birth, death and migration. The NPR is to be updated with the decennial Census exercise that has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report stated, “The CRS system is facing challenges in terms of timelines, efficiency and uniformity, leading to delayed and under-coverage of birth and death. To address the challenges faced by the system in providing prompt service delivery to the public, the Government of India has decided to introduce transformational changes in the Civil Registration System of the country through an IT [information technology] enabled backbone leading to registration of birth and death in real-time basis with minimum human interface.”
It said the changes would be in terms of automating the process delivery points so that the service delivery was time-bound, uniform and free from discretion. “The changes would be sustainable, scalable and independent of the location.”
Last year, several instances of the online registration system being compromised were reported from States, with the login IDs and passwords of sub-registrars compromised and available in the open domain.
Following this, Deputy Registrar General Sandhya Singh issued an advisory to the Chief Registrars of all States to avoid the misuse of the online portal user and login ID.
“A few State governments have reported issuance of fake birth and death certificates, including misuse of the User/Login ID and password created in the existing portal/software developed for online registration of birth and death by unauthorised persons. This has resulted in the registration of criminal cases in some instances,” the July 28, 2021 advisory stated.
Presently, the online software available on www.crsorgi.gov.in is operational in 22 States and Union Territories.
Amendments to Act
The RGI that functions under the MHA has also proposed amendments to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 that will enable it to “maintain the database of registered birth and deaths at the national level.”
According to the proposed amendments, the database may be used to update the Population Register, Electoral Register, Aadhar, Ration Card, Passport and Driving License databases, The Hindu had reported.
The registration of birth and death is mandatory under the RBD Act and the Chief Registrar is mandated to publish a statistical report on the registered births and deaths during the year.
The RGI is empowered under Section 3(3) of the 1969 Act to take steps to coordinate and unify the activities of Chief Registrars of Births and Deaths of all States.
The MHA report noted that the proportion of total registered births and deaths had witnessed a steady increase over the years. “The registration level of births has increased to 89.3% in 2018 from 81.3% in 2009. On the other hand, the registration level of deaths has increased from 66.9% in 2009 to 86.0% in 2018,” it pointed out, adding that the level of total registration of deaths was lower than that of births in most of the States except in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and in the Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep.
“Lower level of death registration may partly be attributed to non-reporting of domiciliary deaths and deaths of females and infants,” it said.