More than 59% children born every year are not registered with any civil authority making them invisible. Only 27% under the age of 5 years have a birth certificate. This fact has been highlighted by National Family Health Survey III - India's social survey carried out in 29 states during 2005-06. According to the latest data the extent of birth registration varies substantially across states. While Goa has over 95% children registered after birth the figure is dismally low in Bihar standing at just 5.8%.
More than 4/5 of children have not had their births registered in Rajasthan (16.4%), Jharkhand (9.1%) and Uttar Pradesh (7.1%).More than 4/5 or more children below five years of age are registered in Mizoram (93%), HP and Kerala (89%), Sikkim, Gujarat and TamilNadu (86%) and Maharashtra (80%).
According to the report nationally only 41% of children under five years of age have has their births registered with civil authorities even though India's National Population Policy 2000 has set the goal of achieving universal birth registration by the year 2010.Despite efforts to increase birth registration, there is as yet no change in registration.
The survey found that children with educated parents and from the higher wealth were more likely to have their births registered. The births of less than ¼ of children belonging to households in the lowest wealth strata had been registered and only 1 in 10 had a birth certificate.
Low birth registration has now become a global problem. This has now made the Health Metrics Network; a global partnership hosted by WHO launch a drive to encourage developing countries to improve civil registration. The drive marks the start of intensive work to help countries to improve civil registration.
Nearly 40% of the 128 million global births are not officially registered due to the lack of civil registration every year. The situation is even worse for death registration. Globally 2/3 of 57 million annual deaths are not registered the WHO said.
The lack of civil registration is especially serious in developing countries which make it difficult to produce vital statistics on the number of births, deaths and causes of death. These statistics are needed to show whether health programmes are working.