Vital Registration System (VRS) or Civil Registration Vital Registration System (VRS) or Civil Registration

Vital Registration System (VRS) or Civil Registration

What is the Vital Registration System?

In a general sense, the systematic recording of birth, death, and other crucial events of human life is called a "vital registration system." Various crucial events like birth, death, marriage, divorce, and migration are recorded in this system. Vital registration is also an essential source of demographic data. After registering for vital events, a registration certificate is given, which is required for legal documents for school enrollment, taking a citizenship certificate, selling and purchasing land and houses, etc. Vital events continuously occur in our society. Therefore, the statistical recording of birth, death, marriage, divorce, and migration is called "vital registration." The data prepared by collecting and editing such events are called vital statistics.

According to the UN: A vital registration system is the legal registration and reporting of the occurrence of, and the collection, compilation, presentation, analysis, and distribution of statistics about vital events, i.e., birth, death, marriage, stillbirth, divorce, migration, miscarriage, adoption, legitimation, annulment, and legal separation.

Besides censuses, there are other data sources on vital events like birth, death, and migration. Birth, death, divorce, marriage, and migration should be registered in the Registrars' office. Nowadays, these registrations are required even in admitting to school, purchasing and selling property, and some other social work. The statistics produced from the compilation and editing of these data are called vital statistics. 

Vital statistics are indispensable in studying social trends and making important legislative and commercial decisions. Such statistics are gathered from census and registrars' reports; vital records are also kept by physicians, attorneys, funeral directors, clergymen, priests, and similar professionals. Vital statistics fall into two categories: crude rates and refined rates. 

Crude rates are vital statistics about the general population, such as the number of births and deaths per thousand people in a given population. Progressive rates are vital statistics about a specific population segment, such as the number of births and deaths per 1000 people in a particular age group, ethnic group, gender, or state population.

As the events are registered every year, the data collected from vital statistics is authentic. Therefore, they help the government make adequate plans and policies.  

Sir George Rose first started the vital registration system in England in the 16th century. Records of birth, death, and marriage were kept in churches. The civil code had been promulgated after starting systematic vital registration in 1837. After the appointment of Dr. William Farr as the Registrar General, he initiated the first annual publication in 1839 based on vital events like birth, death, marriage, etc. 

Before that, there was a provision for keeping records of vital events like birth and death by the chief of Roman Catholic churches in Europe. Sweden, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Norway, etc., also started vital registration in the 16th century. Vital registration is the basis of the demographic study, as John Graunt published his book on "Bills of Mortality" based on vital registration.

Vital Registration System (VRS) in Nepal

In Nepal, the legal provision of vital registration was first documented in Gaun Panchayat Ain (Village Panchayat Act 1961) in 2019 BS. Nepal's Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) also conducted a vital registration pilot project in the Kathmandu Valley in 1964. However, CBS could not continue it due to a lack of institutional liability. Similarly, the Family Planning, Maternal, and Child Health Project started vital registration in Banke and Nuwakot in 1972 to evaluate the effectiveness of its family planning project. Still, it terminated its task after four years. 

Finally, with the establishment of the Registrar's Office under the Ministry of Home and Panchayat and the promulgation of the Registration Act 1976 and Household Act 1977, a vital registration system was started in Nepal. Only ten districts were covered for the first time in April 1978 (1st Baishakh, 2035).

The system's coverage was increased in 21 districts in 1979, 34 districts in 1980, 40 districts in 1881, and all 75 districts in April 1990 ( 1st Baishakh, 2047BS). After 20th May 1993, the Registrar's Office was shifted under the Ministry of Local Development. There is the provision of vital registration in all VDCs and municipalities as the local registrar's office in Nepal.

Every person has to register the vital events (birth, death, migration, marriage, and divorce) in the local registrar's office in the concerned VDC/Municipality within 35 days of any vital event. The fine for registration overdue is from Rs 8 to Rs 50. All the vital statistics are collected at the district level through District Development Office and are circulated to the Registrar's Office under the Ministry. The data is collected, compiled, and published annually for statistical purposes.

Coverage of information in (VRS) vital registration system in Nepal

Birth: Name of child, sex, order, date, place of birth, parent's name, age, education, occupation.
Death: Name, age, sex, marital status, caste, place of death, address, occupation, birth, cause of death.

Marriage: Name, age, caste, education, occupation, address, place of birth, usual place of residence of bride or groom, name of their parents.

Divorce: Name, age, caste, mother tongue, religion, education, occupation, citizen, address, duration of married life, total live births, total live children of divorced persons, and cause of divorce.

Migration: Name, age, sex, place of birth, citizenship, education, religion, caste, mother tongue, place of origin, the destination of migrants, and cause of migration.

Features of Vital Registration System (VRS)

  • VRS is the primary source of population data.
  • It also provides appropriate data for the rate of natural increase (RNI).
  • Use of separate forms for separate vital events.
  • A vital registration has legal value as a vital registration certificate is provided.
  • A report of vital statistics is regularly published along with the regular registration of vital events.
  • Data awareness is necessary for its effective implementation.

Importance of Vital Registration System (VRS)

  1. A reliable source of data if covered well.
  2. Data on vital statistics is helpful for planning.
  3. Researchers, students, and teachers can get current data.
  4. The vital legal value of registration
  5. Useful to find natural growth

Limitations of Vital Registration System (VRS)

  • Poor coverage and insufficient data.
  • There is no separate institution to take responsibility.
  • The carelessness of people due to a lack of data awareness.
  • No strict compulsion of registration
  • Lack of reward and punishment for registration

Uses of Significance of Vital Registration System (VRS):

  1. A certificate of registration gets legality in the events of life.
  2. Personal transactions can be carried out quickly by submitting certificates of vital events in life to any institution.
  3. It helps in acquiring citizenship.
  4. It helps in getting enrollment in the school.
  5. It maintains legal status.
  6. It becomes easier to certify relationships.
  7. It acts as a proof for the transaction of movable and immovable property and helps in withdrawing pension, deposit from the bank, and sum-insured from the insurance company.
  8. It's easy to get a passport and visa to go abroad.
  9. Maintains legal relations between husband and wife.
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