Stricter birth registration rules in the offing

Provision to sue officials for mistake, fees to increase

Shahin Akhter

The government has decided to raise birth registration fee and introduce the provision of suing officials committing mistakes while registering births.
Officials said that the provisions has been incorporated in a new set of rules, drafted, by merging five set of existing rules.
The rules facilitate registration of births and deaths under the Birth and Death Registration Act 2004.
Following some corrections the draft rules would be submitted to the local government division this week, said birth and death registration project directors AKM Saiful Islam Chwodhury.
Five separate rules were framed in 2006, spelling out how births and deaths would be registered by union parishads, municipalities, city corporations, cantonment boards and Bangladesh missions abroad.
Following the amendment the rules would be brought under a single frame spelling out how births and deaths would be registered by the five authorities.
Following the amendment free birth certificates would be provided up to six months after birth, compared to 45 days after birth as the rules stipulate now.
For registration of births applicants would be required to pay a fee of Tk 100 up to five years after the birth of dependents, Tk 500 for applying after five to 10 years after birth, and Tk 1,000 for applications made 10 years or more after the birth of a dependent.
The draft rules empower applicants to sue birth registration officials for deliberate distortion of information in Extended Programme on Immunization cards, hospital documents or other documents.
Six months after births, applicants of dependents living in a union have to apply to the upazila nirbahi officer’s office for the registration.
Applicants living in municipal, city corporation or cantonment board areas  have to the district administration’s office for the registration of births.
Under the existing rules, 45 days after births applicants in unions and   municipal areas were required to pay a fee at the rate of Tk five for each year.
For the applicants from city corporation and cantonment board areas the payable fee was Tk 10 for each year.
The fee would remain unchanged at $ five for the applicants seeking registrations of births by Bangladesh missions abroad.
Birth and death registration project director told New Age Saturday that fees would be raised to encourage people to register births   immediately after babies are born.
He said that 16.50 crore births had been registered until now.
For the inflated figure he blamed registration of births twice or thrice for changing personal information in birth certificates for early marriage, school admission, land registration or seeking jobs.
‘We want to tighten the rules to end the practice of using more than one date of birth,’ he said.
The births of between 25 lakh to 30 lakh people are still out of the registration coverage, he said.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics website the country’s  population stands at 15.74 crore.

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