By David Stanway SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Delegates to China’s parliament are urging the overhaul or even scrapping of controversial family planning rules and say radical steps are needed to “liberate fertility” and reverse a decline in births and a rapidly shrinking workforce.With its population ageing as a result of longer lifespans and a dwindling number of children, the world’s most populous nation decided in 2016 to allow all couples to have a second child, relaxing a tough one-child policy in place since 1978. But birth rates plummeted for the second consecutive year last year. Policymakers now fret about the impact a long-term decline in births will have on the economy and its strained health and social services. In proposals submitted at the National People’s Congress, delegates from across the country urged leaders to improve healthcare and maternity benefits, offer tax breaks and provide more free public education. Some went further, saying China should forget about trying to control births and even remove all references to family planning from the constitution. “Continued control over fertility will inevitably defeat the purpose and make it even harder to resolve ingrained population problems,” Guangdong province delegate Li Bingji said in a proposal that described… Read full this story
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