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Busan Seeking to Increase Birth Rate

Posted August. 31, 2006 06:56,   


Busan, the city with the lowest fertility rate in the country and diminishing population, has announced plans in association with banks and corporations to encourage childbirth.

For the first time in Korea, the Busan metropolitan government will designate some bus seats exclusive for pregnant women starting in September. Banks are expected to benefit a household with more than three children by offering them higher deposit rates. Those families will also be allowed to buy goods like clothing at lower prices.

Favorable Deposit Rates and Discounts -

The Busan government is planning to benefit families with more than three children residing in the city with higher deposit rates and a variety of products with discounted prices, and is working on details.

The city recently collected around 50 entities that want to support the government’s plans. Among them, 23 banks, companies, and various groups based in Busan have already been designated as supporters for the plans. Another 26 companies headquartered in Seoul have decided to participate in the government’s move and are waiting for their head offices for permission.

One of the supporters, Pusan Bank, has decided to give a 1 percent-point deposit rate benefit to households with over three children and exempt them from part of banking fees. Sejung, a clothing company, will give the families a 40 percent discount.

Pusan National University Hospital and Busan Medical Center will cut 10 percent of the medical expenses, and Busan Haeundae Geriatric Medical Center will give a 30 percent discount on the cost of treatment and hospitalization for the households.

Haenim Toy Corporation, a toy manufacturer, will cut prices by as much as 50 percent, and the Busan Office of the Association of Korean Oriental Medicine will charge less to those families in designated several hospitals in separate districts.

The Busan government will be open for applicants who want to pledge help for the plans until August 31, and talk about details including the percentage and methods of discount with the applicants and implement the plan later this year after signing an agreement around October 15.

Households entitled to the benefits are determined by when a third child is born. The city is considering choosing among after 1992, 1996, or 2000.

When the measures are imposed, every member of the entitled family will receive support in banks, medical centers, public cultural facilities, and designated shops if they show certificate cards and ID cards.

Seats Only for Pregnant Women -

The government will secure two or three seats for pregnant women among seven or eight seats designated for the elders and the disabled in a bus.

At present, the backs of ordinary seats are colored blue and yellow for seats for the elders. Those for pregnant women will be colored pink.

Also, Busan city will add the sign “pregnant women” to the current notice “For the elders and the disabled’’ on subways.