FAQ Births and Deaths Bill 2023

  • What are the key features of the Births and Deaths Bill 2023? We benchmark with rules in UK, New Zealand and USA. What is the need for Mortality Rate Statistics?


According to a Hindustan Times report the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 1/8/2023 albeit with some reservations about making linking Aadhaar with birth certificate mandatory and denying education and welfare to people whose births were not duly registered. The provisions are effective from date of passing of the bill and not retrospectively.


The Union minister of state for home Shri Rai said that the bill was last amended in 1969.  He added that with advancement in technology there was a need to make the law citizen friendly. The report also states,

1. “The bill makes the use of birth and death certificates mandatory to prove the date and place of birth of any person born on or after the bill comes into effect.”

Our maid, about 55 today, is having problems with her Aadhar and PAN card because her year of birth was not recorded when born in a village. India has made rapid advances since then.

2. “The certificate will be the only conclusive proof to determine the age of a person, and not having a birth certificate could cut off a person’s right to vote or ability to apply for government jobs or admission to educational institutions.”

It is a counter check. Citizens need to behave responsibly too. There has to be a downside for not complying with the law.

3. “The national database for births and deaths will be shared with the authorities maintaining other databases (such as electoral rolls, ration cards), the bill added.”

High time this was done. We need to have one database of citizens. All databases need to talk to one another to improve efficiencies.

4. “The bill links the Aadhaar details of the parents and the person who report the birth in the birth certificate.”

By giving Aadhar of person who reported, say doctor, it is leaving a trail. There has to be someone who delivered the child, even if it is in a village.

Why should sharing of birth and death details be a problem or lead to loss of privacy? People share much more information about themselves on Facebook and Google not to forget applying for Visa. Google know the brand and model number of the Smartphone I use.

During Covid19 there was an issue of mortality rate statistics. Noted economist Bibek Debroy, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister wrote in the MINT in 2021, “The registration of births and deaths is governed by the Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Act, 1969. However, the implementation of this statute is vested with state governments. Even before the pandemic, deaths were under-reported, but the pandemic has accentuated this problem. In a global assessment of civil registration systems (CRSs) across countries, India’s CRS was rated the lowest on a vital statistics performance index (<0.25). Owing to the covid pandemic, the collection of accurate data on deaths and fatality causes is all the more important right now. This can aid us in carrying out targeted vaccination in clusters where the fatality rate is high.”

Hopefully, this will also mean that hospitals have to state the ‘cause of death’.  Bibek added, “A robust healthcare system that can respond to a health crisis has to rely on reliable mortality statistics, along with information on the cause of death.”

The subject of registration of death and births is on the Concurrent List meaning both Parliament and State legislatures can frame laws on the subject.

This U.S. site has amazing statistics on population. It seems the numbers are system driven. Depending on what amount data is captured online by India, it can be a data goldmine for researchers.

Some feel that making birth certificate mandatory would lead to corruption. Have you heard of corruption in issuing of birth certificate of legitimate children? In case of issue of death certificate heard cases of corruption. This occurs when a person dies under abnormal circumstances or has left behind wealth over which family members are fighting.  

I asked friends across the world whether it was mandatory to register birth and death under law in their country? If one did not register, what is the downside?


1. United Kingdom – “Birth certificate is mandatory to go to school, to get cremated and to get legal safeguards between spouses. Passport and Driving licence verify your birth date through birth certificate. With death, the passport automatically expires. If no marriage certificate then tax pension benefits can differ.”


“It’s not like you carry your birth certificate. It’s all registered through hospitals post birth then you get an NHS number (helps healthcare staff and service providers to identify you correctly) then NI (national insurance) number and so on. For elections the local authority just sends you voters card each time. Everything is records driven.” 


This sharing is not deemed to violate the fundamental right of the U.K. citizens. Since India has a colonial constitution if it works there, it should be accepted in India too. The Right to Vote comes with certain responsibilities too. In this case, your parents have to get your birth registered. Moreover, India is the land of Dharma, more than rights. The Supreme Court logo is Yata Dharmastato Jayah - Where there is righteousness and moral duty (dharma), there is victory (jayah).


2. New Zealand – Every birth in New Zealand must be registered by law. You should register the birth of your child within 2 months.”


3U.S.A. – On birth registrations are legally required Actually, it is handled automatically where you are born. The nurse will take down the name within a few hours and death has to through a mortuary or crematorium.


“The civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths has a long history in the United States, beginning with a registration law enacted by Virginia in 1632 and a modification of this law enacted by Massachusetts in 1639.” Source


In the United States, legal authority for the registration of births, deaths, marriages, divorces, fetal deaths, and induced terminations of pregnancy (abortions) resides individually with the states. NCHS (National Centre for Healthcare Statistics) has legislative authority and is mandated under 42 U.S.C. § 242k, Section 306(h) of the Public Health Service Act to collect vital statistics annually: “There shall be an annual collection of data from the records of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces in registration areas.” Source The U.S. Vital Statistics – A National Perspective


In the U.S. the birth certificate is used to generate the Social Security Number and as evidence of passport. “Death certificates may be altered to commit fraud against insurance companies or to escape arrest warrants.” Source  

In order to understand the provisions of the bill I referred to the respected PRS Legislative Research site. I have converted their published note into an FAQ for easy reading with my comments where required.

For complete PRS Legislative Research paper. Read here

Q1. Who shall maintain the database of births and deaths? 

“The Act provides for the appointment of a Registrar-General, India who may issue general directions for registration of births and deaths.  The Bill adds that the Registrar General will maintain a national database of registered births and deaths.  The Chief Registrars (appointed by states) and Registrars (appointed by states for local area jurisdiction) will be obligated to share data of registered births and deaths to the national database.”  


Q2. Can a birth or death certificate be obtained electronically instead of extracts?

Yes. In which case the birth certificate can be kept in an individual’s Digilocker!


Q3. Can one register birth after 30 days?

Yes. “Registration will be allowed after 30 days but within one year, only with the written permission of the District Registrar (or any such authority) upon payment of a fee and submission of a self-attested document, as prescribed.”


Q4. What are the provisions w.r.t. Aadhar details of parents and informants?

“The Act requires certain persons to report births and deaths to the Registrar.  For example, the medical officer in charge of a hospital where a baby is born must report the birth.  The Bill adds that, in cases of births, the specified persons shall also provide the Aadhaar number of the parents and the informant.  This provision also applies to: (i) jailor in case of births in a jail, and (ii) manager of a hotel or lodge in case of births in such a place.  Further, it expands the list of specified persons to include: (i) adoptive parents for non-institutional adoption, (ii) biological parent for births through surrogacy, and (iii) the parent in case of birth of a child to a single parent or unwed mother.”


Q5. Will the births and deaths database be connected to other databases?

“The Bill states that the national database may be made available to other authorities preparing or maintaining other databases.  Such databases include: (i) population register, (ii) electoral rolls, (iii) ration card, and (iv) any other national databases as notified. The use of the national database must be approved by the central government.  Similarly, the state database may be made available to authorities dealing with other state databases, subject to state government approval.”


Q6. For what can the birth and death certificates be used?

“The Bill requires the use of birth and death certificates to prove the date and place of birth for persons born on or after this Bill comes into effect.  The information will be used for purposes including: (i) admission to an educational institution, (ii) preparation of voter lists, (iii) appointment to a government post, and (iv) any other purpose determined by the central government.


The bill specifies an appeal process. To read about that and possible objections click on PRS link

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