Coronavirus – Health and Governance Issues

Civil Registration System Report, 2020


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Civil Registration System (CRS)

Mains level: Total covid related fatality in India

The Civil Registration System (CRS) report 2020 was released at least a month before its schedule.

What is Civil Registration System (CRS)?

  • The CRS collates data on all births and deaths registered with local authorities across India.
  • The CRS report is released by the Registrar-General of India.
  • It releases its report around 18 months after a year ends.

Significance of the 2020 Report

  • The 2020 report was released at least a month before schedule.
  • Such data can be of significance during a pandemic as possible covid-19 deaths may not have been categorized as such in official records.
  • The CRS can help us reach an estimate by using the “excess deaths” approach.
  • It is the difference between the total number of deaths registered in a pandemic year and the number of deaths that normally take place in a year.

Why was the data released ahead of schedule?

  • India and the WHO are locked in a tussle over the latter’s excess death estimates that would give a sense of pandemic-linked fatalities globally in 2020-21.
  • India has reportedly stalled WHO’s efforts to release the data, claiming flawed methodology.
  • WHO is set to release its estimates today, a possible reason that India released CRS data early.

Why is India contesting the WHO approach?

  • One key objection by India is that WHO has classified it as a Tier 2 country and hence used a different modelling process to estimate excess deaths from that used for Tier 1 countries.
  • WHO says all countries that made available their full all-cause mortality data for the pandemic period were classified as Tier 1.
  • India is in Tier 2 because it didn’t share official data with WHO.
  • Hence, alternative data and modelling methods had to be adopted, adjusting for factors such as income levels, covid-19 reporting rates, and test positivity rates.

What does the 2020 data show?

(a) Covid deaths

  • The CRS report for 2020 has recorded deaths of 8.12 million Indians, 6.2% more than 2019.
  • Normally, an unusual increase in deaths would be linked to the pandemic. However, in India, not all deaths are registered.
  • Thus, a rise could simply be because of more families getting deaths registered.
  • The CRS for 2021, which saw more Covid deaths, may not be out until next year.

(b) Improvements in sex ratio

  • Highest Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) based on registered events has been reported by Ladakh (1,104) followed by Arunachal Pradesh (1,011), A&N Islands (984), Tripura (974), and Kerala (969).
  • The lowest sex ratio was reported by Manipur (880), followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (898), Gujarat (909), Haryana (916) and Madhya Pradesh (921).



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