India may lose economic edge as China ends one-child policy

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December 28, 2013

BEIJING: China appeared to be gearing up for a baby boom as the government put an end to the 34-year-old one-child policy. The law change will enable couples to opt for a second child if one of the parents was a single child with no brothers and sisters.

December 28, 2013

BEIJING: China appeared to be gearing up for a baby boom as the government put an end to the 34-year-old one-child policy. The law change will enable couples to opt for a second child if one of the parents was a single child with no brothers and sisters.

At another level, the new move can take away a major advantage that India with its vast young population has over China. Economists and population experts have been regularly cautioning China that it was moving towards a graying society, and India's young population gave it an economic edge.

"This is a big day. We felt so restricted with the government interfering in our personal life. We will surely go for a second child," Huang Fang, a school teacher in central Beijing, told TOI. "Our parents are also looking forward to more grand children."

Most of Chinese couples in reproductive ages were born after the late seventies when the one-child policy was brought in, and happen to be single children in their families. The new policy will effectively cover the bulk of Chinese parents hoping to have a second child.

Unlike India, China has been able to handle the challenge of food shortages through the one child policy, according to experts. The policy stopped at 200 million births. But rising industrialization and lower growth in population resulted in labor shortages in some parts of China in recent years.

China began tweaking the one-child policy a few years back initially allowing some relaxation in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and later allowing couples to have a second child if both parents were single children in their childhood. The policy has now been extended to couples where one of the parents was a single child.

The Chinese government has shown it has "the guts, the courage, to do things that appear to be difficult," State media quoted Fu Hualing, a professor at the law school of Hong Kong University, as saying.


Courtesy: TNN