The low birth rate has been a focus for discussions at the ongoing annual sessions of the National People's Congress, the nation's top legislature, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the nation's top political advisory body. Liu Dajun, a CPPCC National Committee member, has suggested offering subsidies to encourage couples to have a second child. Beijing News comments:
One year has passed since China revised its family planning policy to, in principle, allow every couple to have two children. However, that move has not raised the birth rate as expected.
Other policies are needed to encourage people to have more children. There are many couples hesitating to have a second child because of the cost of raising children.
A survey of dozens of families in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province, found that it costs at least 200,000 yuan ($29,000) to raise a child over the first six years. However, the average wage in the city was just 6,911 yuan a month last year.
That is why many couples complain they "cannot afford to" have a second child, it's just too expensive.
The best solution to the problem lies in easing the economic burden of parents by subsidizing them. It has long been common practice in many developed countries to offer better social welfare to families so that they are willing to have more children.
In fact, providing government subsidies to encourage couples to have a second child is already being considered, as Wang Pei'an, deputy head of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said recently. We hope such measures are introduced as soon as possible.