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Government to Amend Birth Registration Act

The central government is aiming for 100 percent registration of births by 2010 by amending the Registration of Birth and Death Act 1969 that would simplify the process, an official said Friday.

'Registration at birth is a serious issue as this helps in maintaining a record for a person for his or her lifetime. In India, currently the birth registration record is 64 percent as some of the states have still not implemented it properly,' D.K. Sikri, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, said here.

Sikri was addressing some leading NGOs at a workshop - 'Promoting Government: Civil Society Partnerships to achieve Universal Birth Registration'- organised jointly by the UNICEF and the NGO Plan India.

According to government estimates, states that are lagging behind most are Bihar and Jharkhand where the birth registration rate is between 0-30 percent, followed closely by Uttar Pradesh and Assam. Sikri said the governments of these states should implement a mechanism of sharing best practices with other high performing states such as West Bengal, Kerala and Punjab where the rate is 100 percent.

He said the government proposes to set up about 100,000 government service centres across the country with the task of ensuring that birth registration is done.

The government is also seeking to enhance the accountability of the state governments along with making special provisions for the registration of adopted children.

'The government is also thinking of making the entire registration process online in order to do away with the current time-consuming and cumbersome process,' Sikri emphasised.

He said the reasons for which birth and death registrations have not been followed strictly in some states were lack of awareness about the importance of registration, ignorance about rules and responsibilities, low priority accorded to the work, lack of coordination and in
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