CITIZENS trying to procure birth and death certificates have been left in the lurch for a fortnight now with the civic health department’s online system facing a total shutdown. The Civil Registration System (CRS) server has been pulled down after the central government notified the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of malpractices and misuse of the digital facility.
According to civic officials, the central government received complaints that people were downloading death and birth certificates of others at random. “The digital system is simple to use. Any one can access the certificate by typing name, date and place of birth or death. The certificate can be printed directly,” said a civic official requesting anonymity.
With the online service shut since April end, several residents in need of death certificates are rushing to ward officers seeking help. “The death or birth certificate can currently only be accessed by the medical health officer. He cannot keep printing certificates for everyone,” a civic official said.
Mumbai records 1.5 lakh births and around 75,000 deaths annually, with 410 births and 205 deaths in a day on an average.
A 78-year-old senior citizen residing on Grant Road said he visited the D ward office daily for a week to procure his wife’s death certificate after she passed away on April 25.
“We were supposed to fly to the USA and to cancel the tickets and get the refund the airlines asked me for a death certificate. I had also applied for mediclaim for which the certificate was important,” he said.
The D ward medical officer claimed that while he could show him the certificate on the computer, it was difficult to download and print it.
The BMC shifted to an online facility to download birth and death certificates on January 1, 2016, using the CRS software prepared by the Registrar General of India.
The online service allowed people to access certificates without having to physically visit a ward office. Last year, the BMC had also initiated a process to upload data dating back to 1990 of birth and death registrations.
With the online system shut, the kin of newborns or those who just passed away recently are visiting ward offices where medical officers tell them nothing could be done till the CRS is repaired.
“We have written to the central government to give us 24 login ids for 24 wards in the city so that our health officers can access certificates for those in urgent need,” a BMC health department official said.
Through the temporary login ids, each health officer would be able to access death certificates in any ward.
An official from the central government confirmed that the health portal will take at least two months for a revamp. “Alternative arrangements are being made for Mumbai. A facilitation centre in each ward will be set up for people to walk in and get certificates,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Rajendra Prajapati, a Panvel-based bhelpuri hawker, has been visiting Mumbai’s F-South ward to procure the death certificate of his son Lalakumar Prajapati who died at KEM hospital last week. “For us, travelling long distance to get paper-work done has become tiresome,” he says.