Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to bring in new policies to arrest the fall of the birth rate as concerns mount over the rising ageing population in the world’s second-largest economy.
increaseressing around 2,300 delegates at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) congress in Beijing after securing an unrepressed third five-year term on Sunday, Xi said, “We will establish a policy system to boost birth rates and pursue a proactive national strategy in response to population ageing.”
More than one-sixth of the world’s population is in China. Its population swelled from 660 million in four decades to 1.4 billion. However, the population rate has declined for the first time since the great famine of 1959-1961.
As per the latest figures from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, China’s population grew from 1.41212 billion to just 1.41260 billion in 2021 – a record low increase of just 480,000, a mere fraction of the annual growth of eight million or so common a decade ago.
Experts say China’s birth rate is expected to drop below 10 million in 2022 from last year’s 10.6 million—already down 11.5 per cent from 2020, reports Reuters news agency.
In 2021, China’s rate was 1.16, which was below the 2.1 OECD standard for a stable population, making it among the lowest in the world.
China has been taking various measures to boost its population growth. After dropping its one-child policy in 2015, the authorities introduced three-child policy in 2021, aimed to prevent a steep decline in the birth rate.
Apart from that, Beijing has also been introducing various sops to encourage couples to have more children. These measures include tax deductions, longer maternity leave, enhanced medical insurance, housing subsidies, extra money for a third child and a crackdown on expensive private tutoring.
This comes at a time when the Chinese authorities have been wary of the Indian population surpassing theirs.
As per a UN report in 2019, by 2027, India is expected to add nearly 273 million people between now and 2050, more than China, and it is expected to remain the most populated country through the end of the current century.
(With inputs from agencies)
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