Legal identity at the margins: the impact of violent conflict on birth registration in India

Dhiman, A., & Harbers, I. (2024). Legal Identity at the Margins: The Impact of Violence Conflict on Birth Registration in India. Citizenship Studies.

In India, armed groups characterised by a diversity of ideologies and aims have emerged and persisted even in the presence of a fairly strong state. These groups often operate in areas that have long suffered from state neglect. We examine how violent conflict influences patterns of birth registration. State-recognised documents are crucial for establishing legal identity, and accessing citizenship rights. We draw on the 2015–16 National Family and Health Survey to measure civil registration, community and household characteristics. Our conflict data come from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, which we leverage to describe community exposure to organised violence. Our statistical analysis shows that the likelihood that a child is in possession of a birth certificate is significantly lower in areas affected by violent conflict, even when controlling for other individual and social characteristics associated with marginalisation.