China’s controversial one-child policy has led to a major demographic crisis. To rectify the problem of population decline, now China is offering cash subsidies to couples for making more babies. While China is moving to provide incentives for more childbirths, Indian government on the other hand is set to introduce a new Population Control Law.
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Panzhihua city in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, with 1.23 million population, announced on Wednesday it plans to dole out money to couples giving birth to more than one child, the first-ever official incentive of its kind to spur more childbirths as part of broad-based efforts to address China’s demographic decline in the longer term.
The local government in Panzhihua decided to offer a subsidy of 500 yuan ($76.87) per baby every month for families with a local hukou that have a second or third child, until the babies turn three. The city became the first in China to have announced childbirth bonus.
The cash incentive came after the recent introduction of various childbirth incentives to respond to the country’s shift toward a third-child policy.
Last week, the central government rolled out a set of measures, including reducing childbirth and education costs, to aim for a balanced population growth in the long run.
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China announced in May the relaxation of its two-child policy to allow couples to have up to three children.
The policy shift would help in addressing the country’s low childbirths, improving demographic structure, and pushing for the balanced development of the population, Fu Linghui, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, said in mid-June.
China’s population grew to 1.412 billion at the end of last year, but new births shrank for a fourth straight year to merely 12 million, according to official data.
According to FT’s sources, the latest Chinese census data, which was completed in December and has yet to be publicly released (the issue is reportedly so sensitive that it won’t be released until many government agencies reach a consensus on the data and its consequences), is expected to show the country’s first population decline since records began in 1949.
China’s birth rate has been in decline for years and the introduction of the two-child policy in 2016 failed to make a dent. The number of newborns in 2019 fell to 14.65 million, a decrease of 580,000 from the year before.
To cope with the shrinking population, a PBOC study urged a drastic overhaul of the policy to encourage “three or more” children per household. It called for a total lifting of any restrictions to “fully liberalize and encourage childbirth” to reverse the current four-year straight decline in births nationwide.
While China is moving to provide incentives for more childbirths, Indian government on the other hand is set to introduce a new Population Control Law.
Contrary to popular belief, barring a few states, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in most Indian states has declined significantly over the last decade.
The Economic Survey of India 2018-19 clearly states that the population growth rate has been slowing down in recent decades. It mentions that the population growth rate of 2.5 per cent annually during 1971-81 has reduced to 1.6 per cent during 2011-16.
Many significant states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana, that, at one point, were infamous for their large population are now experiencing a deceleration in population growth.
According to the census, the Total Fertility Rate or TFR, which is the number of children born to a woman during her lifetime, has reduced from 5.2 to 4.1 between 1971-1981 and from 3.6 to 2.4 during 1991-2016. A fertility rate of 2.1 is the ballpark figure indicating population stabilisation. Therefore, we can conclusively say that India’s population is not exploding.
The current rate of population growth too was achieved via coercive population control schemes and policies under which women have disproportionately suffered.
Women have undergone forced sterilisation and died in the process, consumed harmful contraceptive pills/injections and have had injections like Depo-Provera tested on them, without adequately obtaining their consent.
Population Control Law is actually Agenda 21 which is a British policy to reduce the population of former colonies like India through various sterilization projects and other policies implemented through the United Nations and popularised by Hollywood to effectively keep nations under Anglo-American orbit.