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State lags in birth records

Only 60 per cent parents bother to collect certificates

Ranchi, Jan. 9: Jharkhand is lagging behind in registration of births.

For, only 60 per cent parents prefer to record their child’s birth and obtain certificates in comparison to the national average of 82 per cent.

Ajay Khanna, deputy director in the office of the Registrar-General of India, revealed this at a two-day state-level training workshop on the civil registration system at a Ranchi hotel on Thursday.

Unicef and state planning and development department are jointly organising the training for government and civic officials engaged in registering births and issuing certificates.

“People have become aware of the importance of birth registration. And that is why the overall figure has gone up in the country. But when it comes to individual states like Jharkhand, a dismal statistic is witnessed,” Khanna said.

To substantiate his claim, he added that only 58 per cent births were registered in the country in 2001, which had increased to 82 in 2012.

State Unicef chief Job Zachariah pointed out that according to United Nations convention on the rights of the child, every individual had the right to a name, nationality and parentage.

“A birth certificate is the only document that ensures all this. Besides, it also enables the child to get entitlements like scholarship and services under public distribution system among others,” he explained.

Birth certificates have been made mandatory for getting a passport for those born after January 26, 1989, he added.

Zachariah suggested three measures to achieve cent per cent registration. First, anganwadi workers should report home deliveries to panchayats. Second, government medical officers should register hospital deliveries that account for 19 per cent of total births in the state and issue certificates before mothers are discharged or send them by speed post.

And finally, private hospitals where 21 per cent births take place should report those to the concerned authorities within three weeks.

In Jharkhand, East Singbhum district tops birth registration with 80 per cent while Pakur has the lowest of 28 per cent, said Kumar Premchand, Unicef’s policy planning and evaluation officer.

“Inter-departmental co-ordination is essential for achieving success. But not a single meeting has been held since a notification was issued in 2006,” commented P. Amist, deputy director of census operations in the state.