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Cash reward offered to one-child families
By Jia Chun and Zheng Hua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-09 07:34

KUNMING:Rural couples in Southwest China's Yunnan Province can receive a 1,000 yuan (US$120) reward beginning this month if they sign an agreement to have just one child.

The move is a preferential policy recently adopted by the province in an attempt to bring the ever-swelling population in farming areas under control.

Besides the reward money given to parents who promise to have only a single baby,other privileges will be granted. They include an exemption from education fees, additions to their child's scores in college entrance exams and advantages towards additional education.

In addition, couples with single children are given some other benefits, including an annual pension of up to 750 yuan (US$91) from the government when they retire.

To meet this commitment, provincial Vice-Governor Wu Xiaoqing said authorities have earmarked 230 million yuan (US$28 million) to ensure the programme.

According to Zhang Yuming, director of the Yunnan Provincial Population and Family Planning Commission, the population of Yunnan topped 43.8 million last year.

Currently, the province sees a yearly net increase of 500,000 people, or a birthrate of 9.8 per 1,000. That is about 5 per 1,000 higher than the average in the country.

Of the 800,000 babies who arrive yearly in Yunnan, 730,000 are born into rural families. More than half are from poverty-stricken areas.

The ever increasing rural population is attributed to a lack of education among impoverished groups, Zhang was quoted in China Youth Daily as saying.

Such population growth hampers the province in heading towards a well-off society, a nationally stated goal, Zhang said.

During an eight-month trial in more than 40 counties, great achievements have been made.

To date, more than 50,000 rural couples have picked up an honorary certificate issued to them when they were rewarded as being committed to having only one child.

The birthrate of the province is likely to be reduced by 10 per cent for the first time.

Wu predicts that by the year 2020, if the policy is implemented as scheduled, more than 297,000 hectares of farmland will be saved and social expenditures will be cut by 26.6 billion yuan (US$3.2 billion).

By then, more than 5.5 million potential births will have been prevented, thanks to the new policy.

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