India on Thursday vowed to achieve the ambitious but challenging goal of registering all births and deaths in the country by 2020, four years ahead of a UN target for Asia-Pacific region.
Addressing a Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in Asia and the Pacific, Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs, said the birth certificate is the basic document to prove the identity of a person.
“Hailing from a state that is on the international border, I am more than aware how important this is,” said Rijiju, who is from Arunachal Pradesh. The minister stressed that CRVS could never become universal unless it became a people’s movement.
“The statistical system has to look at the human being behind the numbers and ensure that every child is able to enjoy a basic right, which is the right to ‘a name, nationality and family relations’ as enshrined in the UN convention on child rights,” he said.
UNESCAP’s Regional Action Framework envisions universal civil registration in Asia and Pacific by 2024. Rijiju said India aims to improve the lot of the common man “in every possible way.”
“The government has therefore set an ambitious target of achieving (this) by 2020. This mission has been given an appropriate name Vision 2020.”
Rijiju said the task is by no means simple. “It is a big challenge for India to bridge a gap of 17 per cent in birth registration and 33 per cent in death registration.”
The current level of registration of births and deaths of the country has reached 84 per cent for births and 67 per cent for deaths.
The minister told the delegates that the Office of the Registrar General, India was in touch with all stakeholders in the CRVS such as health, planning and statistics departments; the UN agencies and civil society organisations.
“To give a boost to the registration campaign the government is planning to link birth and death registration to government services such as issue of unique identification number (UID), national identity card, access to education, healthcare and insurance,” he added.