*** ----> Unmarried couples allowed to have kids in China's Sichuan amid low birth rates | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Unmarried couples allowed to have kids in China's Sichuan amid low birth rates

Agencies | Beijing

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com   

Unmarried individuals can now raise a family and enjoy the benefits that were earlier only granted to married couples in China's southwestern province of Sichuan, health authorities said as Beijing continues to initiate efforts to bolster a falling birth rate.

Sichuan is China's fifth most populous province.

The province ranks seventh in China terms of those older than 60, or more than 21% of its population, Reuters reported quoting government figures.

Earlier, only married women were legally allowed to give birth in Sichuan.

The move comes as both the marriage and birth rates have fallen to record lows in recent years in the province.

In 2019, the authorities also revamped the rules to cover singles who want to have children. The new rules will come into effect from February 15.

Under these, married couples and any individuals who want children will be allowed to register with the provincial authorities.

They can have as many children as they want, the measure proposes.

Sichuan's health commission said that the measure aims to "promote long-term and balanced population development.

Last year, China's population shrank for the first time in six decades- marking a historic turn which is expected to usher in a further period of decline in numbers.

Owing to this authorities have given more incentives and measures to people in order to boost the population which include maternity insurance to cover medical bills and also allowing married women to keep their salary during maternity leave.

In Sichuan as well, these benefits will now be extended to single women and men.