A Bill that proposes to allow the Registrar General of India to maintain a database on births and deaths and use that to update the National Population Register (NPR) will likely be introduced in the Winter Session of Parliament.
The draft of the Bill — which will amend the Registration of Birth and Deaths (RBD) Act, 1969 — was shared by the Ministry of Home Affairs in October last year for public comments and suggestions.
According to the proposed Bill, the data will also be used for updating electoral rolls, the Aadhar database, ration cards, passports and driving licenses.
The government intends to amend Section 3 of the RBD Act through an insertion of a Section 3A, which says: “The Registrar General, India shall maintain the database of registered births and deaths at national level, that may be used, with the approval of Central Government, to update Population Register prepared under the Citizenship Act, 1955; Electoral Registers or Electoral Rolls prepared under Representation of People Act, 1951; Aadhaar Database prepared under Aadhaar Act, 2016, Ration Card database prepared under National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA); Passport Database prepared under the Passport Act; and Driving Licence database under Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 and other databases at national level subject to proviso of Section 17 (1) of RBD Act, 1969.”
For this purpose, the draft Bill has also proposed an amendment in Section 4 to allow the Chief Registrar to take steps to maintain a unified database of civil registration records at state level, and integrate it with the database at the national level maintained by Registrar General of India.
The government has also proposed amendments in Section 8 which deals with the requirement of citizens and house heads to give information on birth and death. Through an insertion it has said those responsible would also be required to provide “Aadhaar number, if available, of parents and the informant in case of birth, and of the deceased, parents, husband or wife and the informant in case of death”.
The draft Bill has also made insertions to accommodate “non-institutional adoption”, “child born to a single parent / unwed mother from her womb” and “orphan, abandoned, or surrendered child in child care institution”. It has also amended the word “oldest male” in the house for providing information on birth and death to “oldest person”.
Through an insertion in Section 17, that deals with search of births and deaths register and submission of these certificates as evidence of birth and death, the government has proposed that these certificates “shall be used to prove the date and place of birth of a person born on or after the date of Amendment for: Admission into educational institutions; Issuance of driving license; Preparation of voter list; Registration of marriage; Appointment in Central Government, State Government, Local Bodies and Public Sector Undertakings; and Statutory Bodies, Autonomous Bodies under Central and State Government; Issuance of passport; Other cases as prescribed by rule”.
Through an amendment in Section 23, that deals with penalties for withholding information, the government has proposed increasing the fine on an individual or an institution to Rs 1,000 per brith or death. It was earlier only Rs 50.
It has proposed amendment to Section 12 fixing one week time for issuance of birth and death certificates after information has been received by the concerned authority.
The draft proposal has also made it mandatory for medical institutions to provide “a certificate as to the cause of death to the Registrar and a copy to the nearest relative in such form as may be prescribed”.