BEIJING (TIP): China has set a target of producing two million extra babies annually, health officials said on May 29. This will mean an 11% jump in the country’s birthrate. The target is part of the policy to reverse the one-child norm and encouraging couples to go for a second child to fight the specter of a seriously aging society. China practiced severe population control policy for three decades resulting in fewer young people than the aged.
Economists predict China would fail to compete with a young nation like India with its vast youth population and face severe shortages of skilled manpower in years to come. “One of the ways being adopted to boost child births is dealing with shortage of maternity beds,” said National Health and Family Planning Commission deputy minister Wang Guoqing. Birth limits were introduced in 1980 to curb population growth and to deal with growing demand for water and other resources. Urban couples faced severe fines if they had more than one child. Women were often forced to abort fetuses or to be sterilized even though such measures are illegal.