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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Labor Pains: Birth and Civil Registration in Indonesia

Rural Lombok seems a million miles from traffic-jammed Jakarta.  It’s also a considerable distance to the nearest town where marriages and births can be registered.  And this isn’t only a problem in Lombok. UNICEF estimates around 30% of Indonesian under-5s are unregistered (around 8m children), the 7th highest proportion of any nation. Without birth certificates these little ones essentially do not legally exist.  I was in Lombok recently to see how Indonesia is trying to address this problem.

The Eyes Have It! Development and the Biometrics Revolution

The “identity gap” is large, but it’s closing. Over the past 10 years, developing countries from Afghanistan to Zambia—and the donors that support them—have begun to focus on identity systems. Some have sought to create or extend national identification to cover large populations that previously could not exercise basic rights or access services due to a lack of official documentation. Others have reformed government and NGO programs by creating robust identification to improve quality, increase accessibility and eliminate fraud.

India Leading the Way on Biometric ID—and Now Replacing Subsidies with Cash

The Washington Post reported yesterday that India will, starting Jan 1st in 51 districts, pay cash directly into the accounts of poor families as it begins unraveling its convoluted web of food, fuel and other subsidies. India’s been toying with this idea for a while, so it’s good news that it’ll finally kick-off in the New Year. Many others will be watching.

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