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To Consider Allowances for Childbirth-Childcare

Posted August. 20, 2001 09:24,   


Ministry of Gender Equality was reported to consider the payment of childbirth and childcare allowances, the introduction of the European `childcare voucher system`, and no benefits for undergoing sterilization operations, to stop the country`s declining birthrate.

Some suggest that through a set of measures, a further decline in birthrate should be stopped and the average number of babies born to a South Korean woman should be increased from 1.42 to 1.6.

This change draws attention since it means a big rotation of the government`s population policy, which has maintained the `childbirth control` for the last couple of decades.

In relation to this, the Ministry of Gender Equality will start to collect various opinions of the social sectors by holding the ` Urgent Forum on Birthrate 1.42` to arrange the countermeasures followed by the declining birthrate.

Kim Seong-Kwon, chief of the population and family division at the Korea Institute For Health and Social Affairs, said that ``declining of the birthrate may incur various issues in the long term, such as the shortage of the labor and the drain of the pension funds due to the decrease of the young and the increase of the old. First of all, the declining of birthrate should be controlled, and birthrate should be pulled up from 1.42 to 1.6.`` He will present on the subject at the urgent forum meeting.

The average number of babies born to a South Korean woman throughout her lifetime dropped to 1.42 in 1999, a level below the world average of 1.53. It stood at 1.59 in 1990, has declined since then.

In relation to this, Kim Ai-Ryong, director of the policy evaluation at the Ministry of Gender Equality, said that ``the Ministry is contemplating a set of measures to stop the country`s declining birthrate. The measures include child-raising allowances to working women and the introduction of the European `voucher system`, which supplies coupons for the use of private childcare system instead of establishing childcare system in company.`` In response to the Ministry of Gender Equality`s move, Ministry of Health and Welfare official said that ``birthrate related policy falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The research result will come out next February, and then, related ministries will decided on the issue.``

Soh Young-A sya@donga.com