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Robust data system: Govt to counter Lancet’s lack of accuracy charge

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NEW DELHI: In a sharp rebuttal to Lancet’s claim about lack of accuracy and

transparency

in sharing data on

health indices

, govt officials Saturday said India has a robust system of documenting

births

and deaths under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, through the Civil Registration System. “It provides a unified process of continuous, permanent, compulsory, independent and universal recording of births and deaths,” they said, adding that more than 90% of births and deaths are registered online on the state or national portals.
The Lancet, a global medical journal, claimed in an editorial titled ‘India’s elections: Why data and transparency matter’ that accurate and up-to-date data are essential for health policy, planning, and management, but the collection and publication of such data in India have undergone serious setbacks and impediments in recent times.

The editorial raised questions on India’s claim that only 4.8 lakh people died because of Covid pandemic saying that WHO and other estimates are six to eight times higher (including excess deaths, most of which will be due to Covid-19) – a claim govt has repeatedly rebutted. The editorial also claimed that the govt spending on health had fallen.
An official, however, pointed out that share of govt health expenditure has increased over time – from Rs 1,39,949 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 4,34,163 crore (provisional data) in 2021-22, as per latest National Health Accounts Estimates. “Out of pocket expenditure as share of total health expenditure reduced from 62.6% in 2014-15 to 39.4% in 2021-22,” she added.

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