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Looking to the new generation

Updated: 2016-03-09 07:23
By Shan Juan (China Daily)

Tax reform

Authorities have finished drafting a program to reform individual income tax to benefit couples who choose to have a second child, and it will be submitted to the national legislature for review later this year, according to Lou Jiwei, China's finance minister.

Last year, the Ministry of Finance, the State Administration of Taxation and other related government departments worked jointly on the plan, and it has now been submitted to the State Council, Lou told a press briefing on Monday.

However, the amendment is not just about thresholds, but also considers overall income and expenditures, such as mortgages, school fees and care for the elderly, he said, speaking on the sidelines of the two sessions. Yuan Xin, of Nankai University, also welcomed the reforms. "They are in line with international practice," he said.

Mu Guangzong, a demographics expert at Peking University, urged the introduction of stronger supporting measures.

"If they aren't forthcoming, it will be extremely difficult for people to implement the new policy," he said, adding that financial incentives should be provided for couples with two children. "To have two children is good, and three is even better," he said.

In addition, the government should improve maternity and child care services, plus related policies, such as risk assessment. Central and local authorities must be prepared to monitor and evaluate the newborn population and the fertility rate to ensure that medical and health resources are properly distributed, he said.

He urged the authorities to learn from the experiences of other countries that have encouraged population growth, saying lessons can be learned from the birth and child-welfare policies in countries such as Sweden, Japan and Singapore, and that they should be trialed in China.

"A helpful national childbirth policy would help to ease the burden on families that want to have two children, which would help to provide a sustainable workforce," he said.

Contact the writer at shanjuan@chinadaily.com.cn

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