SAHIWAL: Pakpattan has become the first district of Punjab to launch digital birth registration programme under the district chapter of the Local Government and Community Development Department (LG&CDD).
Under the programme, 975 personnel, including nikah registrars and union council secretaries, will be imparted training to use mobile phones and tablets for online birth registration. The training will be completed on Nov 15 through six master trainers and six officials from a Europe-based private telecommunication company. The programme was inaugurated by Mahmood Javed Bhatti, the LG&CDD director general (DG), while distributing electronic gadgets among the first batch of trainees at Pakpattan Municipal Committee office.
The local government department has collaborated on the programme with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the European telecom company. The purpose was to achieve universal birth registration for children in Punjab. The programme is believed to host live data flows of birth registration applications and has initially been launched in Pakpattan and Bahawalpur.
Mian Muhammad Asghar, deputy director of the department in the district, said 900 nikah registrars, 56 union council secretaries and four representatives of Pakpattan and Arifwala municipal committees would be trained for the programme. In 2015, the provincial department had run a pilot programme in UC Kalyiana. After its success, the Punjab government established a cell in Lahore with financial assistance from Unicef.
He further said a mobile phone would be provided to each nikah registrar and a tablet to each UC secretary. The registrar will enter data of a child and the parent/guardian into his mobile phone along with GPS location of each newborn, which will be accessible on the tablet of a UC secretary.
“The secretary will verify the details through National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) servers linked to their tablets and submit final data to the central portal linked with the DG’s office in Lahore. The data will automatically be sent to Nadra and births will be registered automatically,” Khalid Nazir, the local government department director, Sahiwal district, elaborated.
Asghar said a registrar would be paid Rs600 a month as stipend for this job along with a free mobile phone. “While the UC secretary will not be given anything additional for being a government employee,” he added.
A server of data registration will also be established in the offices of the deputy commissioner and the local government director for their access.
DG Bhatti claimed the programme would ensure 100 per cent birth registration and improve service delivery standards for children and their families in a transparent and accountable manner.
Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2017