The Government has made it mandatory by law to register every death that occurs with the concerned State Government, within 21 days from its occurrence. After the registration of the death, the applicants receive a death certificate which is crucial and has various purposes.The use of E Governance can improve public administration by making it more efficient, providing better services, and responding to transparency and accountability demands.
With the Corona virus pandemic hitting the country, it has been tricky for the registrar of births and deaths to coordinate and dispatch death certificates, mainly since there was a massive decline in staff working at their offices. States like Mumbai and Chandigarh did mention that there were a lower number of deaths as compared to the previous year since the lock down had a lot less fatal accidents which were quite common in these areas. April 2020 saw 5,536 recorded deaths in Mumbai, as compared to the 6,752 deaths of April 2019, and 6,740 of 2018.
What are the purposes of a death certificate?
A death certificate has a lot of uses and is one of the primary documents to be put in place when dealing with someone who passed away, some of its various purposes including:
- Establish the fact of death legally
- Relieving the deceased from social, legal, and official obligations such as accessing pension benefits, claiming life insurance, settling estates, getting married, usually if a widow or widower needs to prove that their previous partner has passed
- Used by the family for paperwork to be followed post-death, which may include arranging for a funeral or dealing with the religious formalities.
In some cases, the registrar considers death certificates, public documents, and individuals can obtain them, regardless of their relationship to the deceased. There are other instances where only a legal representative, spouse, parent, child, or sibling of the deceased may obtain a certified copy of the death certificate. In these instances, these people should provide some proof of their relationship to the deceased, when applying. Siblings can provide a copy of their birth certificate showing the parental relationship between the decedent.
Legal representatives need to provide documentation proving that they need the death certificate to determine property rights. In most cases, they have to include a letter stating who they represent and how they are related to the person. Most people should ideally work on this paperwork in advance on the off chance of such a situation arising.
Who issues death certificates in India?
There are multiple ways to apply for a death certificate, but when it comes to the documentation, they can apply for it through the Registrar of Births and Deaths, at their office or online. No matter the process, it is always coordinated through the Panchayat or the Municipality nearest to where the person resides.
Death certificates have information on the date and time that a person passed away. People can only apply for them if there are no pending investigations as to the cause of death since that is a reason that can even delay moving ahead with the funeral rites.
The challenges when it comes to applying for a birth certificate online
While the Government has implied that applying for a birth certificate is mandatory, many are not taking this seriously enough. A recent statistic showed that a large number of people from the rural parts of India from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa among others had significantly lower birth certificate registrations as compared to Maharashtra, Karnataka among others. There are multiple reasons for this, but it seems that the lack of awareness could be one of the reasons for this happening.
With the increase in the number of births in the country, to reduce the load on the Registrar of Births and Deaths, through the intervention of Municipalities and Panchayats, the Government went a step further to create an online system to handle the same.
As soon as people began using the website, other private companies started creating their versions of the platform, seeing that the primary one was not well optimised, slow, and often lost all the form information added.
All websites created for this process handled just the application form filling, the additional documentation needed, and information about the process if people needed it. They did not work on anything more than that and coordinated the entire process through the Registrar. Additionally, the website also coordinated making changes to already issued birth certificates, such as typos or errors. It allowed people to apply for duplicate birth certificates if they lost their original ones.
The main benefit of the process was being able to coordinate it without leaving the house or running about, at an individual’s convenience. Furthermore, it reduced the length of the lines and queues at the Registrar, which would take quite some time to coordinate.
Challenges using the website for online registration of birth certificates
The website was a welcomed change from going to the office since most of the time individuals had to make multiple trips from the lack of documents. However, to put it simply, it was not for everyone.
- A vast Indian population is not qualified enough to use the website and found themselves struggling with uploading their information, leading them back to the office with their questions.
- India does not have the best internet connection with more than 70% of the country not connected to a proper internet connection. However, this number reduces further if you people consider using their phone internet connections. However, the phone internet connection is not stable, and sometimes drop, causing a loss of a lot of already entered information.
Overall, the website has been positive since it has seen a large number of people registering their birth certificates through the portal. In some cases, hospitals in Urban India prefer using the website since it is simple and finishes the process in a few simple steps. It has reduced the number of people coordinating the process through the Registrars office which is not a bad thing and saves people a trip since the application forms or most of the other information is freely available on the portal itself.
Applying for a passport through the website only takes a fraction of the time
A passport is one of the most important documents that an individual needs if they are planning on traveling out of the country. There are multiple types of passports issued across the world, but the most common is the general passport which is given to more than 80% of passport holder around the world.
Much like all passports by their respective country, the Indian passport is issued by the Ministry of External Affairs to Indian citizens. Other than allowing the bearer to travel internationally, it also serves as proof of Indian citizenship as per the Passports Act of 1967. While the passport office in every state works on issuing passports, some websites also assist with the process and coordinate with the passport office, making it easier for applicants who cannot keep traveling to the passport office. India issues passports at 93 passport offices located across India and at 197 Indian diplomatic missions abroad.
According to a report In 2015, India issued about 12 million passports globally making the Indian passport, the third-largest commonly used passport, only surpassed by China and the United States.
Process of applying for a passport
While the process of applying for a passport might seem easy, it is not. There are a lot of requirements when applying for one and, in many cases, if coordinating through the passport office, applicants might have to make multiple trips back and forth is they do not carry some of their documentation.
An easier method to get this done is through the passport portal that has all the application forms online and needs the applicant to fill them out. Additionally, it prompts them to upload certificates and documents that it requires throughout the process. After submitting everything and uploading it properly, applicants would receive a date when they would have to visit the office to get their eyes and fingers scanned. Passports are usually mailed to their address since they all fill in that information.
Documents needed for the passport process
While applying for a passport, the applicant has to prove their identity, the place where they stay and that they have some assets within the country. Here are some of the primary documents needed for the process.
- Electricity bill
- Proof of Gas Connection
- Telephone (landline/ postpaid mobile bill)
- Water Bill
- Rent Agreement
- Passbook of running Bank Account with a photograph attached.
- Birth Certificate issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths, the Municipal Corporation, or any other prescribed authority
- PAN Card issued by the Income Tax Department
- Aadhaar Card/E-Aadhaar
- Driving License which has been issued by the concerned State Government’s Transport Department
- Voter ID Card or the EPIC (Election Photo Identity Card) issued by the Election Commission of India
While all of these documents are not a requirement, it makes sense for an applicant to keep them handy when going through the process. Additionally, the applicant’s information should be consistent across all the documents, otherwise, there would be discrepancies, and additional documents would have to be submitted.
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