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Online birth registration is messing up genders!

  • Published at 12:56 pm January 24th, 2021
Child with her birth certificate
File photo of a child with her birth certificate Dhaka Tribune

The whole birth registration process is now a mess since the introduction of a new online registration system on January 1

Imagine waking up to find out one day that the government thinks your mother is a man. That small clerical error can have a lifetime of consequences not to mention skewing the gender data of the country. 

Visiting a city corporation office in Mirpur, the Dhaka Tribune found a man at his wit’s end when he tried to get his mother’s death certificate. 

When officials asked him to submit an online copy of the birth certificate of the deceased, as per rules, he discovered that  his mother had been registered as a man in the birth registration directory.

He managed to resolve the issue but had to go through administrative hassle for three days.

AKM Masudur Rahman, deputy registrar general (DRG) of the Office of the Registrar General, Birth and Death Registration, said this kind of error might happen due to a lack of awareness on the part of the official entering the data in the directory.

Also Read- Over 10 million children under 5 with no birth registration

“We are enforcing strict measures to make sure no one can commit fraud or that the Rohingyas do not get into the national directory. All the criteria have to be fulfilled to obtain verified certificates,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

New online registration process

Be it submitting official forms in person or online, people have to face bureaucratic red tape all the same.

Wrong gender is one of the numerous troubles people have been facing in obtaining both birth and death certificates at different city corporation offices in the capital recently. 

The whole birth registration process has been in chaos since the introduction of a new online registration process on January 1.

Parents who want verified birth certificates, necessary to produce for children’s school admission, are bearing the brunt of the new system.

Guardians have been complaining about several mandatory conditions. In some cases, they said online birth registration details of parents are necessary during the process of children’s birth registration.

“Getting online birth registration certificates is a lengthy process. Parents have to obtain them first and then use their certificates for their children’s birth certificates to be made available so that they can get admission in schools. But schools are not going to wait. They will start new classes as soon as educational institutions reopen, which is likely next month,” a father said.

Another person came to the city corporation office for a correction on his son’s birth certificate.

Also Read- Birth registration database: Effective solution to prevent child marriage?

He told an official working at the city corporation office: “The process was quite simple and easy in Comilla, where I corrected mine within a day. But now I am visiting this office for the third consecutive day to correct information on my son’s birth certificate. I have no idea how I should solve it.”

In the case of death certificates, it is necessary to produce the online birth certificate copy of a deceased person in order to collect the death certificate of the person.

If the birth registration of the deceased was not registered on the server, the person who means to collect the death certificate has to apply for the online birth registration of the dead person, showing the manual copy.

But the online server of the Birth and Death Registration Office seems to be down most of the time, as many have complained recently.

Deputy Registrar General AKM Masudur Rahman said the new process of both birth and death certificates was not as complicated as people thought.

Acknowledging the technical glitches, he said the problem would be fixed by January 31. 

“The server data will be synchronized and the local area based separate registration will start working after January 31. Since people from all over the country are visiting the centralized server, the site traffic has grown and glitches are occurring because of it,” he added.

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