South Korea has a very low birthrate that it hopes to boost up and also take care of an ageing population in the next five years with a funding of 75.8 trillion won (67.8 dollars).
After years of promoting family planning in a crowded nation of almost 50 million, South Korea has in recent years become increasingly alarmed at the prospect of an ageing society -- with a huge pensions bill and too few workers to sustain economic growth.
AdvertisementThe total fertility rate, the average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime, stood at just 1.15 as of 2009 compared to the average in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries of 1.71.
The plan approved by the cabinet represents a 79 percent rise from the 42.2 trillion won allocated for the last five-year plan.
The health and welfare ministry said that as part of the plan, the government will make it easier for newlyweds to receive loans to rent homes. The rights of women workers to take maternity leave would be protected.
Firms will be prodded into setting up in-house day care centres and more public buildings such as libraries will be used to care for workers' offspring.
The government will try to help elderly people find jobs and state pension benefits will be raised to meet increases in the cost of living.
The ministry said that if the plan succeeds, the country's birthrate should reach OECD average levels in 2020, slowing down the ageing of the population.
Separate figures announced by the education ministry showed a steady decline in the number of elementary schoolchildren, to just over half the number in 1970.
The OECD, in a June report, highlighted medium-term economic problems posed by the ageing population.
It said more women should be encouraged to work by narrowing the wage gap with men, expanding the availability of child care and encouraging family-friendly workplaces.
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