Seoul studies 100 million won incentive for each child born

IN A a bid to bolster abysmal birth rates, South Korea is exploring what would be its most generous incentive ever – 100 million won (RM346,148) in cash per baby born.

The state-run Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission on April 17 commenced a survey to gauge public opinion on the idea.

“Through this survey, we plan to re-evaluate the country’s birth promotion policies to determine whether direct financial subsidies could be an effective solution,” the commission said in a statement.

The move comes amid growing warnings over a looming demographic crisis in South Korea, with the national birth rate hitting a record low of 0.72 individuals per woman in 2023.

This figure is projected to decline further to 0.6 in 2024.

The continued drop in birth rates prompted criticisms that existing government policies have been ineffective.

The online survey asks four questions, including whether such a financial incentive would motivate respondents to have children and whether they believe spending an estimated 22 trillion won (RM76.15bil) annually on this programme is acceptable.

This figure represents roughly half the current national budget allocated for low birth rate initiatives, which is 48 trillion won (RM166.15bil) per year.

Currently, Korean parents with a child receive a sum ranging from 35 million won (RM121,152) to 50 million won (RM173,074) through various incentives and support programmes from birth until the child reaches the age of seven.

The government came up with the idea of providing a large, one-off incentive money after South Korean builder Booyoung Group said in February that it would provide employees with 100 million won per birth to help boost the country’s record-low birth rate. — The Korea Herald/ANN

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