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Births and Deaths Registration (Amendment) Act UPSC NOTE


Births and Deaths Registration (Amendment) Act

  • The Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Act, 1969 provides for compulsory registration of births and deaths under a uniform law across India. 

  • Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2023 has been passed by Parliament and has got the assent of the President of India.


National and State level database

  • One of the major objectives is to create a National and State level database of registered births and deaths.

  • The database would help in updating other databases resulting in efficient and transparent delivery of public services and social benefits.

  • For this purpose, the Bill makes it compulsory that the Registrar General of India maintains a national level database of births and deaths.

  • The Chief Registrar of births and deaths in every State is required to maintain a State-level database of registered births and deaths ‘using the portal approved by the Registrar General of India’. 

  • These databases are to provide information to update the National Population Register, the Aadhaar database, electoral rolls, ration card, passport, and other databases at the national level, as may be notified.

  • In the case of birth, the amendments provide for collecting the Aadhaar number of the parents.

Certificate of cause of death

  • The amendments make it compulsory that for all deaths in medical institutions, a cause of death certificate be sent to the Registrar of Births and Deaths and a copy of the certificate is provided to the closest relative. 

  • For deaths that occur outside hospitals, the medical practitioner who attended to the deceased during the person’s recent illness has to issue such a certificate. 

Birth and death certificates

  • It is provided that the birth certificate alone would be accepted as proof of date and place of birth for many purposes such as school admission, issue of passport, and issue of Aadhaar number. 

  • This may not require any amendment in this Act or any other Act. It should be possible to achieve this through amendments in the rules relating to those databases or even executive orders.

  • For example, while applying for passports, it was compulsory to have the birth certificate for those born after January 26, 1989 under the relevant rules. The present government removed this requirement in December 2016.

  • When a person was misses in a natural calamities or accidents, the families of such persons would have to wait for seven years to request for a certificate that says ‘presumed dead’. 

Criticism and concerns

Aadhaar number of the deceased

  • Nothing is mentioned about the Aadhaar number of the deceased. 

  • Updating many of the databases would require removing the names of the deceased from the database. 

  • If the Aadhaar number of a deceased person is not collected, it would be impossible to achieve this objective. 

  • This means that the laudable objective of ensuring ‘efficient and transparent delivery of public services and social benefits’ would remain a dream.

Sharing information to other authorities

  • If the other authorities require information from the database of registered births and deaths to update their databases, it requires amendment in the laws or executive orders under which they are maintained. 

  • The RBD Act only needs an enabling provision to share information from the database. 

    • Even that may not be necessary as the birth and death registers are considered public documents.

Listing other new databases

  • Listing a few databases for consideration by Parliament and leaving future additions to the government is demeaning to Parliament.

  • New additions to the list later may be more dangerous than those listed and approved by Parliament. 

  • For example, the government can now decide that a list of women whose third or higher order birth is being registered be prepared and given to the Family Welfare department for follow up on family planning programmes.

Presumed death

  • A provision could have been inserted in the Act to register a ‘presumed death’ when it is reasonable to assume that the person would have died in the calamity or accident. 

  • This would help the family concerned get the death certificates earlier.

Certificate of cause of death

  • The medical practitioner may not have always arrived at a definite diagnosis before the person died.

  • The forms for cause of death that are being used are in conformity with WHO recommendations. 

  • If the deceased was attended by a practitioner of the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy) systems of medicine, the cause of death recorded may not be usable for cause of death statistics since they may not be classifiable under the International Classification of Diseases.

  • A person who was under treatment for a certain disease can die of an entirely different cause outside a medical facility when the medical practitioner was not available for consultation.

  • While Section 17 of the Act prohibits the inclusion of cause of death in any certificate issued under the Act, it now says that the cause of death certificate should be given to the relative of the deceased. 

  • These are contradictory as the cause of death in the death register is taken from the same cause of death certificate issued by the medical practitioner.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Births and Deaths Registration (Amendment) Act UPSC NOTE
Births and Deaths Registration (Amendment) Act UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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