Indian Official Statistics: Part VI (c)


  1. Population Statistics
    1. Census
      1.                                                         xii.      Registration of vital events
        1. The traditional source of statistics on births and deaths in India is the statutory registration of these events. The system is now almost a century old, although in the beginning more emphasis was laid on the registration of births and registration of deaths received secondary importance. The registration of births and deaths was made compulsory and uniform all over the country through the Registration of Births and Deaths Act of 1969. Besides identification particulars, the birth register contains information on sex of child, age of mother, order of birth, type of attention at delivery, and religion and nationality of parents. In the death register, information is recorded on sex of deceased, age, religion and nationality, cause of death and type of medical attention at death. In terms of Act, the head of a household is legally bound to report to the registration authority every birth or death occurring in the household, while a medical officer in charge if a hospital, health centre  or nursing home is legally required to report every birth or death occurring therein. However, many births and deaths, especially in rural areas, still go unreported, the extent of under-registration varying from State to State, but being in some cases as high as 50%. The most important publication giving registration statistics is Vital Statistics of India (annual) published by the RGI. In India, there is a provision for registration of marriages, but the system is still more unsatisfactory than that for births and deaths, mainly because Hindu marriages do not require registration. As regards migration, while registration of international migration is fairly complete, there is no system for registration of internal migration. Some data in internal migration have, however, been collected in some rounds of the NSS and the censuses since 1971.
        2. Because of the unsatisfactory nature of the usual registration system, a Sample Registration Scheme (SRS) was initiated by the RGI in the rural areas of five States in 1964-65. The scheme has been gradually extended to encompass the rural and urban areas of all the States. It now covers 2,400 rural units (a unit being a village, or a segment of a village in case it had a population of 2,000 or more according to 1961 census) and 1,300 urban units (i.e. census enumeration blocks). A pert-time enumerator, usually a primary school teacher or a midwife or a village-level worker, or a full-time enumerator in the case of cities, maintains a continuous record of births and deaths, as they occur, in respect of the usual residents of a sample unit. Once in six months, full-time supervisors conduct a retrospective survey to check the data recorded by the enumerators. Estimates of birth and death rates computed from SRS data at the State and national levels, separately for rural and urban areas, are published in the Sample Registration Bulletin (RGI, quarterly). Related figures such as estimated mid-year population, infant mortality rates and age-specific death rates are also given in the Bulletin.
        3. There is also a Model Registration Scheme (MRS), started in 1965 in a few States, but now extended to all the States, with the objective of assessing the incidence of fatal diseases. The scheme covers headquarter villages of selected Primary Health Centres (PHCs), numbering about 600. The paramedical staff attached to the PHCs, on being informed of any deaths by the local informants, visit the households and collect information on symptoms, conditions, anatomical site and duration of illness. On the basis of such information, the major cause-group and sub-cause of death are determined. There is provision for an independent six-monthly cross check of events by an agency other than the field agent of ascertain all the deaths in the village during the last six months. The statistics thus collected are sent to the State headquarters (either the Directorate if Health Services or the BES) for compilation. A consolidated statement is submitted by the State head-quarters to the RGI for processing and analysis. The MRS data are presented in the publication Causes of Death- a Survey (RGI, annual).




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