China is all set to introduce new sweeping reforms to boost its already healthy economy. These steps are being taken to make China more competitive in the world markets. These reforms for the next decade were due and should have been implemented a long time ago, some Chinese experts believe, but they also hold the opinion that it is better late than never.
These reforms were proposed and later announced at the end of the four days long Cenrtal Party Committee (CPC) meeting of the Communist party. It included 204 full members, 169 alternate members and non-voting economic scholars and experts. According to the view of the majority of scholars and economic experts these reforms should have enforced at least five years ago and by now China would have been reaping the rewards from them now.
These new reforms are being introduced in several key sectors including health, agriculture, industries and commerce. The most revolutionary steps are being taken in changing the three decades old policy of one-child per family. Now under the new regulations Chinese families both living in the urban centres and the rural areas are allowed to have a second child.
Previously, there were some exemptions to the strictly enforced rule of one-child per Chinese family. These exceptions were, one, if both the parents were single sibling then they were legally allowed to have a second child. Two, this rule was relaxed in case a couple had a girl child. Three, this rule was also not strictly enforced in case of some rural minorities, especially the Chinese Muslims and some other communities. A heavy penalty was imposed on the citizens who failed to or consciously did not adhere to this one-child per family law. This one-child Chinese policy covered approximately 63 percent of the population. According to some experts it was due to this policy that China was able to keep in check its population growing at an exponential pace. These economic and family planning experts stressed that this one-child per family averted an estimated 400 million births since the 80’s.
The down size of this policy was that, though, now China has been able to keep its spiralling population in check for over three decades, this policy has drastically shrunk its labor pool. It is to be seriously noted that it is this abundance of man power which gives China advantage over its competitors the world over.
Another draw back of this one-child per family Chinese policy is that there is a wide difference in male and female population. According to the statics about 103-107 boys are born per 100 girls but in China this static stands at 118 boys per 100 girls.
These new reforms will have a long-term bearing on the Chinese economy as through them the government is somehow trying to adjust the population so that it is able to maintain its control on the population on the one hand and on the other hand, keep its competitive edge over rival economies, especially India in its neighborhood.
A very important aspect of these reforms is that China wants to carry on with its modernization while at the same time it wants to develop the Chinese brand of socialism.
By: Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada
Bloomberg Business Week