Measures to combat the falling birth rate and achieve balanced population growth
China will put in place a comprehensive support system by 2025 that will help “significantly reduce” the burden on couples of parenting and education across a range of policy tools aimed at increasing the number of newborns, central authorities said Tuesday.
According to a document released Tuesday, which was a decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on June 26th.
The “gender ratio, structure and quality” of the Chinese population will also improve with the help of the reforms, which are aimed at improving the country’s birth policy and achieving long-term balanced population growth.
The document, released on Tuesday, sets out the concrete measures to implement the central authorities’ May 31 policy decision to allow all couples to have a third child as the country faces ongoing challenges of an aging society and declining birth rate .
The document states that financial pressures, a lack of provision of day care services, and women’s career concerns are among the main factors that have reduced couples’ willingness to have more children.
It called on local authorities to abolish social security contributions for people who violate family planning guidelines and to remove any link between them and educational and employment opportunities.
The document also urged local governments to simplify matters such as issuing birth certificates, vaccinations for newborns and applying for social security cards.
Broader support is also being introduced in a variety of sectors to improve the delivery of day care services, the document says, adding that kindergartens are encouraged to accept children under 3 years of age, the lower limit under current admission guidelines.
The document suggests that couples with younger children have access to tax breaks, subsidized housing and breastfeeding leave. Checks are also carried out to ensure that pregnancy and childbirth do not jeopardize women’s career opportunities.
The document notes that China will continue to protect the legitimate rights and interests of families with only one child, such as the current reward and support system and guidelines for families with only one child and rural families with two daughters who came before Introduction of the second child policy.
Efforts are also being made to investigate the establishment of an improved leave system for offspring from one-child families to care for their parents.
China will also tighten up monitoring of reproductive health services, it said, adding that the goal is to improve the level of prenatal and postnatal care services and build a balanced supply and demand system of reproductive health services.
With authorities still revising the rules in line with the new third child policy, many couples are left in limbo. According to China’s family planning rules, couples are usually required to obtain official documents to expand their family.
To address this, authorities in some parts of China, including the Tibet Autonomous Region and Anhui Province, have allowed couples to continue their plans for more children and they can apply for the official documents once the new rules are in place.
China began promoting family planning in the 1970s and incorporated it into the constitution as a national policy in 1982.
Following the sixth national census, the results of which were published in 2010 and indicated the aging of the population, the authorities began to relax family planning policies.
As of 2013, authorities allowed couples who were both only children to have a second child, and the policy was extended to all couples in 2016. It is estimated that this resulted in the birth of an additional 10 million babies in the years that followed.
Xinhua contributed to this story.
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