Daunting task of birth registration ahead | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 23, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 23, 2009

Daunting task of birth registration ahead

Only 59pc done since 2001, 9 months left to complete programme

After registering the births of 58.77 percent of the population since 2001, the birth registration programme has a daunting task ahead as it has to achieve cent percent registration within the next nine months.
The programme failed to complete birth registration all by its first deadline, December, 2008. The government had then set the deadline for June, 2010.
"Till this June only 58.77 percent of the total population has received birth certificates," said Director of Birth and Death Registration Project AKM Saiful Islam Chowdhury.
The process of birth registration started in 2001 and after eight years not even 60 percent of the people have been registered making it apparent how sluggish progress of this programme has been. Furthermore, imposing a fee on birth registration made the process more slow, especially in Dhaka City Corporation area.
Till July, 2008, registrations were done free of cost and only 99,361 people had received birth certificates in the DCC area and around six crore people in the country.
Even though the overall progress of birth registration is not so bad in the country, it is very poor in the DCC area, said Saiful Islam, adding that as of June, 2009 only 13.28 percent of the city dwellers have been registered due to manpower shortage.
He said it is not possible to complete the total process of birth registration by only 10 zonal registrars and if the DCC mayor delegates the power to the councillors, the work would get momentum.
"If the 90 councillors in 90 wards start to work, certainly the speed of the work would pick up," he added.
He also said it is very difficult for a single union parishad secretary to work for birth registration programme since he has to perform many other duties. If two or more persons could be engaged to assist him the programme would achieve the goal faster, he said.
However, government officials are optimistic about achieving the target by June 2010, as 94.85 percent of the total population have submitted birth registration form already and if the manpower is increased it would not take much time for the data to be entered and certificates distributed.
"The total population was estimated at 14,44,99,000 in July 1, 2008 and according to this estimate more than 94 percent of the population would be registered by July 2010. But by this time the population will increase, we will have to find ways to get them registered," Project Director Saiful Islam said.
Without motivating people, it would be really difficult to get all the people registered, government and Unicef officials said.
According to the Birth and Death Registration Law, 2004, it is mandatory to show birth certificates for getting 16 services. The birth certificate would be used for getting passport, driving licence, TIN number, applying for jobs, business identification, receiving admit card for taking public examinations, opening bank account, applying for microcredit, withdrawing governmental allowance and land purchasing and selling.
At the same time, the certificate should be used for getting trade licence, purchasing and selling vehicles, involving oneself in insurance in an insurance scheme, marriage registration, voter identification in different elections, admission in educational institutions, gas-water-electricity connection, telephone-mobile, internet, cable TV connection, receiving governmental subsidy, any case or appeal in court and applying for company shares and for other governmental services.
Showing birth certificate for the 16 services has been made mandatory and has been implemented from January 1, this year. A person who will violate the rule will be sentenced to a fine of Tk 500 or two months' jail or both.
The 2004 Births and Deaths Registration Act that replaced previous legislation from 1873 was enforced on July 3, 2006.

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