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Rewards for good family planning
By Sun Xiaohua (Xinhua)
Updated: 2005-06-09 19:29

In a new branch to the country's family planning policy, people over 60 are getting cash rewards for having a small family.

A pilot programme which started last year is expanding to 23 provinces and will go nationwide next year, said Pan Guiyu, vice-director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC).

Under the policy, rural residents who are 60 or over and have only one child or two daughters are eligible for payments of 50 yuan (US$6) every month for the rest of their lives.

In last year's pilot programme more than 310,000 farmers in Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces and Chongqing Municipality received cash rewards totalling about 210 million yuan (US$25 million) for having had only one child or two daughters.

Sun Jiuchang, a farmer in Central China's Henan Province, thumbs up at the policy of rewarding the old who have a small family. Photo is taken on June 9, 2005. [newsphto] 
Li Xiunan and her husband, Zhang Ximin, both 67, are farmers in Bo'ai County, Henan Province in Central China. They have only one child, a son, and received a reward of 600 yuan (US$72) last July from the local Commission of Population and Family Planning.

"I never dreamt that such a good policy would knock on my door," Li said yesterday. "Our practice of family planning has paid off."

Aside from the family planning reward, the couple have an income of about 200 yuan (US$24) a month. "The reward of 1,200 yuan (US$144) a year is a big sum for us," Li said.

"With the money, the burden on our son to support us will be alleviated. And if my husband and I have some minor illness, the money will help us a lot."

Li and Zhang are two of the 304 old people in Bo'ai County to get deposit books in which the annual reward is written.

NPFPC vice-director Pan said about 930,000 people are to receive the payments which are jointly funded by local and central governments.

The central government has stumped up 400 million yuan (US$48 million) and local governments have contributed 200 million (US$24 million).

A separation-of-powers mechanism has been set up to guard against corruption in the implementation of the programme. The NPFPC examines applicants' qualifications, the Ministry of Finance manages the budget and local banks, credit co-operatives or post offices transfer the cash directly to recipients' accounts, Pan said.

Granting financial rewards to farmers who practise family planning marks a major change in China's population-control policy, which had previously been purely punitive.

Pan stressed that because China's population continues to grow by 8 to 10 million a year, the punitive family-planning policy should still be continued.

The new project is a kind of experiment for China, which is accumulating experience in establishing a rural social security network, Pan said.

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