News Jan 01, 2016 08:39 PM EST

Now, Chinese couples can have two kids legally

By Staff Writer

Gone were the days of one-child regime in China. The Chinese government has decided to allow married couples to have two children. Though the decision was announced in October 2015, the new law comes into force from 1 January 2016. 

The increasing concerns over ageing population and declining number of workforce have forced the Chinese government to end controversial one-child policy. The Chinese government in 1978 took decision to restrict one child per couple. The government used to impose fines and forced pregnant women to go for abortions restricting them to one child only.

According to a report by sky NEWS, experts opine that the decision is too late and too little. The Chinese government was forced to relax one-child policy. Chinese officials had been arguing in support of the government that one-child policy was one of the key contributors to the nation's economy. By implementing one-child policy, the Chinese government prevented 400 million births in over 45 years. 

There was some relaxation for couple to go for second child if the first birth was a girl child. Other ethnic minorities were also allowed to have extra child. The abortion rate was also high due to long-held social priorities for boys. 

This caused gender imbalance in the society. Adding to this, the one-child policy for decades has resulted in ageing population and lack of workforce in employable age group. As per the new law, which is effective from 1 January 2016, couple can have second child, but restrictions on extra child remain intact.

The new law considers all additional children born on 1 January 2016 or later as legal. Earlier, the fine was Yuan 200,000 ($31,250) to have extra second child, as reported by CNN. It was too much for majority of couples. Millions of Chinese women were forced to terminate their illegal pregnancies (for second child) over the decades.

China's Health Ministry has estimated that about seven million abortions every year since 2000. Lu Jiehua, a demographer at Peking University, forecasts that the new policy will spark a baby boom in 2017 and 2018. It's further estimated that about the birth rate will go up by 20 million in 2017 and it'll be four million higher than births recorded in 2015, said Lu.

The state-run news agency Xinhua said in its report that "it's worth noting how people's lives will be affected." About 212 million people were aged 60 or above by 2014. The aged people above 60 accounted for 15.5 percent of the China's population, as reported by The Hindu. The number of disabled peopled is hovering at 40 million. 

National Health and Family Planning Commission's officials forecast that China will have three million extra babies every year for next five years owing to new law. This is expected to increase labor force by 30 million by 2050. 

However, experts say that this alone can't address the burgeoning population crisis. It's also doubted that how many couples will go for additional child considering the increasing cost of living. The United Nations (UN) has estimated that people above 65 years will account for 18 percent of China's population by 2030. 

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