Third Child Incentive to Roll-Out This Year

PEMA TSHOMO
Thimphu

In a move aimed at supporting the declining birth rate in the country, the government confirmed plans to implement the Third Child Incentive Program within 2024.

The announcement came in response to a query from the Member of Parliament (MP) Lamdra Wangdi from Nganglam Constituency, who expressed concerns about potential delays similar to those experienced with the Rural Life Insurance Scheme (RLIS).

The MP highlighted the government’s pledge to offer a monthly cash incentive of Nu 10,000, which is roughly USD 125, to women for their third child and any subsequent children until the child reaches the age of three.

They emphasized the urgency of implementing the program to avoid a repeat of the delayed rollout faced by the RLIS.

“One of the greatest concerns we are currently faced with is our declining population. We have been experiencing a declining fertility rate of 2.1 percent, which now stands below the replacement level. This issue is further aggravated by migration of Bhutanese, particularly the increasing number of our productive population, youths, and experienced professionals migrating abroad,” the PM said.

PM further emphasized the potential consequences of inaction, highlighting the link between population and sustainable development. “If we do not take measures to tackle these issues, it will pose serious concerns and problems for the country. The population is crucial for the country and sustainable economic development,” he added.

Meanwhile, the PM elaborated on the government’s comprehensive strategy to address the population decline. While the Third Child Incentive Program serves as a direct financial incentive for larger families, other initiatives aim to create a more supportive environment for families with young children.

“The Third Child Incentive Program is one of the measures to sustain our population. We are currently working on the plans, policies, rules, and criteria for the implementation of this program. The Third Child Incentive Program will be rolled out within this year,” the PM confirmed.

Beyond the financial incentives, the government plans to increase access to Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) services. Strengthening these facilities across the country aims to ease the burden on parents, potentially encouraging them to consider having more children.

“Other measures also include creating a conducive environment for population development. One such measure includes increasing access to ECCD by strengthening ECCD facilities across the country. Having reliable ECCD facilities will ease the burden on the parents to take care of their children and encourage them to have a higher number of children,” the PM elaborated.

The announcement of the Third Child Incentive Program is likely to be met with mixed reactions. While many Bhutanese families may welcome the financial support, some might express concerns about the long-term sustainability of the program, particularly amidst a stagnant economy.

The success of the program will likely hinge on its implementation details. Clearly defined eligibility criteria and efficient disbursement mechanisms will be crucial in ensuring the program reaches its intended beneficiaries. Additionally, the government will need to monitor the program’s effectiveness and make adjustments if necessary. 

However, the program’s success hinges not only on its financial aspects but also on its ability to create a supportive environment for families.

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