Launch of the Second Phase of the National Campaign on Birth Certificates
New Delhi, India, April 21 2005 - India's Home Minister, Mr. Shivraj Patil launched the second phase of the National Campaign to issue Birth Certificates to all children below the age of 10. This phase will focus on issuing birth certificates to unregistered children and children left out in the first phase of the campaign. The first phase launched in November 2003 by the President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, led to over 30 million certificates being issued in a period of one year.
Official estimates indicate that there are approximately 100 million children born in the last 10 years whose births have gone unregistered. In addition, there are about 70 million children whose births have been registered but have not received birth certificates. This phase of the campaign will target to benefit these children.
During the launch of the second phase, Mr. Patil stressed on the importance of birth certificates as being the first step in recognizing the existence of a child by the state and paving the way for the fulfillment of the rights of a child. As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Mr. Patil reiterated India’s commitment towards ensuring the registration of every birth and hoped that the country would achieve 100 per cent registration by 2010, as targeted in the National Population Policy, 2000. He stressed on the need to make concerted efforts to improve the levels of registration in certain states, which would lead to a quantum jump in the level of registration in the country from the current level of approximately 60 per cent. Highlighting the benefits of the use of Information Technology for improving services, Mr. Patil suggested that urban areas with easy access to IT services, should adopt and encourage the use of IT for birth registration.
To mark the occasion and establish the momentum in increasing registration, birth certificates were distributed to 18 children. The political commitment and support for this campaign was evident in the presence of the Union Home Minister, the Chief Minister of Delhi, Mrs. Sheila Dixit, and the Union Minister of State, Home Affairs, Mr. Manikrao Hodlya Gavit at the launch.
The Registrar General of India, Mr D K Sikri, said that the participation of the Chief Minister of Delhi symbolized the importance laid on Centre-State partnership in promoting birth registration throughout the country. He also specified that the main objective of the National Campaign was to clear the backlog on issuing birth certificates.
Speaking at the launch, Robert Jenkins, Chief - Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, highlighted the partnership between UNICEF and the Office of the Registrar General of India to accelerate service delivery, strengthen demand creation, enhance the use of data and target the most vulnerable children.