A startling statistic available with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation reveals that roughly 50 per cent of all Mumbaiites do not have a birth certificate with their name on it, or a birth certificate at all.
People under either of these two categories can now go to their nearest municipal ward office and have their certificate made or updated (if they have one without a name).
Executive health officer, BMC, Dr GT Ambe confirmed the statistic. “A Central Act was passed a while ago that allowed people to have a birth certificate made for someone within a two-year cut-off period.”
What this effectively meant was that if it had been two years since the child’s birth or more, one could no longer get a birth certificate made.
“In September 2009, however, the Centre scrapped the two-year cut-off clause, offering amnesty to people of all ages without a birth certificate, which effectively means that anyone can go and get one made anytime,” added Dr Ambe.
The notification of this amendment to the Act was received by the Municipal Corporation a fortnight age. The reason for such a low percentage of people with birth certificates, according to Dr Ambe is simply because they weren’t required a few decades ago.
“Between 1980 and 1985, birth certificates become very important. They were compulsory if one wished to enroll oneself in schools, for instance,” he said and added, “Before then, one really didn’t need a birth certificate.”
Additionally, before 1990, certificates could be made without the name of the child on them. They had the mother and father’s names and other details like the place of birth etc. on them. Ever since 1990, birth certificates were only issued with the child’s name on them.
“Having the person’s name on a birth certificate is a requisite these days,” Dr Ambe said.