Nu 10,000 for third child to cost Govt Nu 6 bn in 5 years

One of the current government’s most popular and discussed pledges is the offer to give Nu 10,000 per month for the birth of a third child till the age of three.

A study done on the matter based its projection on the number of third child born in the last five years. The study shows an average of 2,100 children born as the third child every year over the past five years.

Using this as the basis and factoring in a 30 percent rise in third child birth rates due to the incentive, a projection has been made from 2024 to 2029.

The projection shows a cost of around Nu 6 billion (bn) for the five years, with the initial years having less pay outs but it increasing with each year.

If the scheme starts in 2024 the first year will see a pay out of Nu 300 to 400 million (mn), 2025 will see Nu 600 mn being paid, 2026 will see Nu 900 mn to Nu 1 bn and 2027 will see the amount go to Nu 1.3 bn, 2028 will see a pay out of Nu 1.4 to Nu 1.5 bn and 2029 will see the highest payment of Nu 1.6 bn.

This means the total amount to be paid will be anything from 6.1 bn to 6.4 bn.

However, the above figures are again assumptions based on child bearing trends, etc., and the final figures will be known only when the program is implemented.

A source said the census data of the last five years is quite alarming, as the age group of those below 15 are declining and those at 60 and above are increasing.

The source said that a demographic trend like this is going to a big issue, and something needs to be done now, but it needs to be seen how resources can be mobilized.

The annual total birth rate in the last five years was around 10,000 babies a year. The latest fertility rate has increased to around 2 percent up from 1.7 percent, but this is still below the replacement rate of 2.1 percent.

However, given the resources required implementing a scheme of such a size is easier said than done. The government will either have to mobilize a huge budget or cut from other programs or implement it after a few years when more revenue is available.

Recently, the Health Minister, Tandin Wangchuk, said for the pledge, to be a successful one, more research is being conducted, considering the population report from the census during the last five years.

He said research conducted by the Ministry of Health indicates that a lot of budget allocation is necessary for the fulfilment of this pledge, and so, it is imperative to be precise about where, and how to effectively utilize these funds.

The Prime Minister had also said, “We must prioritize the understanding of how our younger generations intend to start families, particularly given our current circumstances. Implementing this pledge, with an eye toward the future, is important. Nevertheless, the members responsible for this research will soon present the outcomes of this pledge, which will then be decided.”  The PM said the pledge is important for national security and sovereignty.

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