Over 20% Children Under Five Do Not Possess Birth Certificates

by GoNews Desk 1 month ago Views 1750
Over 20% Children Under Five Do Not Possess Birth
Under duress due to unabating protests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah may have changed their stand on implementing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country for the moment, but it is included in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) manifesto. It is believed that the BJP will make all efforts to implement it sooner or later.

However, figures from the Health Ministry reveal that crores of newborn babies do not get ‘registered’ each year, and around 20% children below the age of five years do not have their birth certificates. 

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According to a Health Ministry report released in the year 2015-16, around 2 crore 70 lakh children are born in the country each year but out of these, around 20% i.e. more than 50 lakh children, have no proof of their date and place of birth.

The report states further that the national average of birth certificates issued for newborn babies in the country is 80%. This clearly means that 20% children are deprived of an important document related to their birth.

Given this report, it is not difficult to deduce the number of parents - of those newborns who do not have their birth certificate - who will have this document.

In a press release issued on December 20, 2019, the Press Information Bureau said that birth certificates are included in the documents which are likely to be made the basis for proving citizenship under NRC. If people do not have their own birth certificate, they can show the birth certificates of their mother or father.

Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister (CM) of Uttar Pradesh (UP), has also announced the implementation of NRC but UP has the worst record in terms of birth certificates. Around 40% babies in UP do not have an official certificate for their date and place of birth. In a state with a population of more than 20 crore, the registration of 40% babies not being done shows how many people in UP will have these certificates.

In Bihar, registration is done for 61% babies but CM Nitish Kumar has rejected the introduction of NRC. However, it cannot be said for sure when he might change his stand on account of compulsions of his political alliance.

Meanwhile, 63% in Arunachal Pradesh, 65% each in Manipur and Jharkhand, 67% in Rajasthan, 69% in Nagaland, 77% each in Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir and 82% children below the age of five years in Madhya Pradesh possess their birth certificates.

The question that arises is that in the race to procure documents, from where will these children - their numbers running into crores - secure their birth certificates? Connecting the possession of this certificate with availing government services will end up preventing people from getting basic facilities.

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