BMC birth certificates to carry details of caste, religion


The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon include caste details and religion in birth and death certificates. Under caste, it will specify if the newborn belongs to the scheduled caste (SC), scheduled tribe (ST), other backward classes (OBC) or nomadic tribe (NT) reserved categories.

Proof of caste, especially if under the reserved categories, is required during college admission, state scholarships, government jobs and contesting civic body, Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

The proposal, originally mooted by NCP corporator Sunil Ahir, was passed in the civic general body meeting last week and received the nod of corporators across party lines. It needs to be formally approved by the civic administration before it is implemented.

The Mahabaleshwar civic body already has this feature and the BMC would have it soon.

It has been a general complaint of people wanting to claim reservation and other benefits that in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, the procuring a caste certificate is a lengthy, tiring and cumbersome process. They argue that it also fuels corruption in government offices that issue caste certificates. "To check such malpractice and ease the process of acquiring caste certificates, we have suggested that these details be included in birth and death certificates," said Ahir, who is brother of Minister of State for Housing and Social Justice Sachin Ahir. As of now, birth and death certificates mention only name, place and time of birth or death.

Underprivileged people from the backward classes benefit from caste reservation and should not be made to suffer and run around just to get proof of caste, said Ahir. For example, when a child is born, she does not automatically get proof of caste until she is admitted to school. Inclusion of caste reservation details in the birth certificate will ensure that the child has enough proof to take advantage of various government schemes for reserved categories, he said. At present, a caste certificate proof can be obtained from the district Collector's office. "There is a lot of red-tape in acquiring a caste certificate... Agents charge exorbitantly to help people get proof of caste," said Ahir.

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