Bridge large birth registration gap

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Published: December 13, 2019 4:36:49 AM

All of these may not be official, but still manage to find acceptance. Unicef proposes a five-step action plan. All children should be registered at birth through a universally accessible system.

 birth registration gap, birth registration, india, unicefIn India, the problems range from poor infrastructure and awareness to the availability of multiple proxies.

A recent Unicef report, Birth Registration for Every Child by 2030: Are we on Track?, states that one in four children under the age of five—around 166 million—do not have birth registration owing to factors, ranging from lack of resources to investments in civil registration systems to policy and institutional obstacles. Over the decade, birth registrations went up from 63% to 75%. This is in line with SDG 16.9, which calls for providing legal identity to everyone by 2030. The increase in birth registrations has been due to the improvements in the South Asia region, especially India, Bangladesh and Nepal. India alone accounted for a huge rise, from 41% in 2005-06 to 80%. However, half of the unregistered births have been accounted for by five countries—India (14%) has the highest numbers. States like Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, UP and Jharkhand recorded the lowest birth registrations.

In India, the problems range from poor infrastructure and awareness to the availability of multiple proxies. All of these may not be official, but still manage to find acceptance. Unicef proposes a five-step action plan. All children should be registered at birth through a universally accessible system. All parents should be empowered regardless of their gender to register their children, and to link them to social services. It also suggests the use of safe and innovative technology to enhance registrations. Finally, it makes the case for communities at large to demand birth registration. Birth registrations are fundamental to basic rights being ensured for each new born in the country; it is imperative state governments take note of the gaps and address these as not registering will cascade into deprivation of basic healthcare, educational and other social services.

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