The birth of China’s birth subsidy “First City” has aroused widespread concern. The city of Panzhihua in Sichuan recently announced that families with registered permanent residence in Panzhihua who have two or three children in accordance with the policy will provide a childcare subsidy of RMB 500 per child per month until the child is 3 years old.
The central government has made the decision to implement the three-child policy and supporting measures for some time, and local governments are also working hard to introduce policies to encourage childbirth. But like Panzhihua, it is the first to send money directly according to the “person’s head”, and is envied as the “city of other people’s homes.”
Behind the real money is the downward trend in the fertility rate. Recently, Henan, Guizhou, Shandong and many other places have announced that the number of births or newborn screening, and the number of live births have dropped year-on-year.
At the press conference of the State Council Information Office on July 21, Yu Xuejun, deputy director of the National Health Commission, bluntly stated that from the situation of birth monitoring in the first half of 2021, the birth population and fertility level this year will still show a downward trend. .
At the national level, the fertility support policy is based on the need to promote the long-term balanced development of the population. For Panzhihua, the third- and fourth-tier shrinking cities whose population has been declining in recent years, the stock of suffering population has been long-standing.
On the road of building the “Vanadium and Titanium City”, “Southward Gateway” and “Sunshine Flower City”, Panzhihua urgently needs to recruit human resources that match it. This 18,000 yuan may be an attempt by the “shrinking cities” to “self-help”.
Target of 300,000 people
The reporter of “Daily Economic News” used the “Urban Construction Statistical Yearbook” issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development to count three “shrinking cities”, and Panzhihua is famous on the list.
From the perspective of the urban permanent population from 2014 to 2019, the population of Panzhihua has decreased in three years. The release of the “Seven Census” data also confirms the fact that the population has decreased.
In 2020, the permanent population of Panzhihua totaled 1.2122 million. Compared with the “Sixth Census” in 2010, there were 1918 fewer people, and the proportion of the population in the province also dropped by 0.06 percentage points.
However, from the overall situation of Sichuan Province, Panzhihua’s population size ranks third from the bottom in the province, and this status has not changed for ten years. In the past ten years, 13 out of 21 cities and prefectures have experienced population declines, and the absolute number of Panzhihua has decreased. It is also the least one. The population crisis does not seem to be so urgent, but why is the birth subsidy issued nationwide first?
In fact, this is not only a policy to encourage childbirth, but also a policy of robbing people in this city.
According to the “14th Five-Year Plan” of Panzhihua, the goal is to build Panxi National Strategic Resource Innovation and Development Pilot Zone, Modern Agriculture Demonstration Base and International Sunshine Health Tourism Destination, as well as regional central cities in Southwest Sichuan, Northwest Yunnan and Sichuan to open to the south. Portal.
When a press conference was held on July 28, Panzhihua City People’s Government Party Leadership Group and Secretary-General Shen Jian emphasized: To achieve the above development goals, coordinated human resources are needed to guarantee the great mountain, big river and big cause.
In order to recruit talents, Panzhihua introduced the “Panzhihua Talents New Deal” (“Seven Talents”) in 2017, and in June 2021, it will continue to issue the “Sixteen Articles for Promoting Human Resources Aggregation” (referred to as “Sixteen Talents”).
The two rounds of policy announcements hope to increase the attractiveness of talents to Panzhihua for development. Whether it is high-level, highly educated or college or technical personnel, whether it is innovative, entrepreneurial or skilled talent, they are all within the scope of Panzhihua’s talent desire.
The maternity subsidy of 500 yuan/month/child is one of the “Sixteen Talents”. In addition to “nurturing”, Panzhihua also hopes to provide guarantees and services to the human resources of Panzhihua in the three aspects of “birth, education and learning”.
With the introduction of these policies, Panzhihua hopes not only to recruit talents, but also to stimulate the willingness of “old Panzhihua people” and “new Panzhihua people” to bear children and promote natural population growth. If it goes well, then Panzhihua’s goal of “increasing the population from the current 1.21 million to 1.5 million by 2025” is just around the corner.
500 yuan fertility stimulation
According to the calculation of 500 yuan/month/child, families with two and three children registered in Panzhihua will receive a subsidy of 6000 yuan/child per year, which is 18,000 yuan for three years.
How attractive is such a subsidy standard to local residents? According to 2020, the per capita disposable income of urban residents in Panzhihua is 44,209 yuan, and the per capita disposable income of rural residents is 19,938 yuan. The subsidy amount of 6,000 yuan will account for 13.6% and 30.1% of residents’ income. It can be said that the subsidy is not counted. Small.
Looking at the whole country, there is no shortage of competitiveness. In April this year, Shanxi issued the “Implementation Opinions on Promoting the Development of Care Services for Infants and Young Children under 3 Years of Age”, which mentioned “encouraging employers to provide 200 yuan per month to parents of infants and young children within the family planning policy. fee”. Neither the compulsory policy nor the intensity of subsidies are as good as Panzhihua.
According to the “Report on the Arrangement of Municipal-level Financial Special Funds in Panzhihua City in 2021”, Panzhihua has allocated 317 million yuan in social undertakings. Based on a rough estimate of half of the city’s newly born population (8556) in 2020, the amount that Panzhihua needs to spend on childbirth subsidies for the second and third children is on the order of 25 million yuan.
So what about Panzhihua’s financial situation?
According to the Panzhihua Local Finance Report in recent years, from 2018 to 2020, Panzhihua City’s local general public budget revenue will basically stabilize in the range of 2 billion to 3 billion yuan. In 2020, the budget revenue will still be 2.97 billion yuan. Beyond the level of 3 billion yuan.
By this year, the municipal government arranged for local general public budget revenue to rise sharply to 6.05 billion yuan, more than doubling compared to 2020, and boosting the municipal fiscal resources to 10.76 billion yuan. In this way, the pressure to increase a subsidy expenditure is not too great.
In the next four years, Panzhihua needs a population increase of 300,000. Not only does it hope that the total population will stop falling, but it also hopes that talents will gather. The annual fiscal expenditure of 25-30 million yuan for four consecutive years can be considered a cost-effective business if it can increase the population of 300,000.
The desire to stop the population decline
In this way, the nation’s “first shot” of childbirth subsidies was launched. Panzhihua’s “self-help” stems from the sense of urgency to shrink the city, but also from the plight of urban development.
As a city born for mines, Panzhihua is one of the four largest iron ore areas in China. Its associated titanium resource reserves rank first in the world, and its associated vanadium resource reserves rank third in the world. Like other resource-based cities, Panzhihua’s development cannot continue to follow the old path of consuming resources and deteriorating the environment.
How to transform? On the one hand, for the traditional advantageous mining industry, Panzhihua is accumulating energy and waiting for the opportunity.
Liu Shiqing, secretary general of the Western Development Research Center of the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, told the “Daily Economic News” reporter that the slag produced in Panzhihua contains rare minerals such as non-ferrous metals that have not yet been fully utilized. The further development of such resources requires national policies and Supporting factors such as technological progress.
The annual sunshine hours exceed 2,700 hours, which is another scarce resource in Panzhihua. “Going to Panzhihua to bask in the sun” has become one of the options for the elderly in some surrounding cities to live through the winter, but while the health care industry is gaining momentum, it also brings the burden of an aging society to the city.
According to the recently announced Land and Space Plan of Sichuan Province (2020-2035), the overall pattern of the land and space in Sichuan in the next 15 years will mainly reflect two characteristics: First, “implement the land and space strategy of conservation and cultivation in the west and optimization and promotion of the east.” , Secondly, “form five major areas with clear main functions and spatial linkage development.”
Among them, the Panxi Economic Zone, where Panzhihua is located, will “take ecological function zones as the core, take into account urbanization and agricultural development, and control excessive population growth.” Regarding the development of ecological function zones, the “14th Five-Year Plan” outline proposes to “gradually form three spatial patterns of urbanized areas, main agricultural production areas, and ecological function zones.”
As an urbanized area in the Panxi Economic Zone, how should Panzhihua City answer this question of population growth and talent gathering? In addition to ecological laws, certain market laws must be observed.
“The high concentration of population in areas with better economic development conditions is the universal law of economic development in all countries in the world.” Lu Ming has long focused on regional development research. He has analyzed my country’s current population flow trends and regional development challenges. Between small cities and large cities, the larger the urban population, the greater the influx, and the population of small and medium cities, especially small cities, is showing an outflow situation.
In Liu Shiqing’s view, “From a positive perspective, in the overall fertility environment, the government subsidizes kindergartens and other infrastructure, or directly subsidizes people, no matter which aspect, it has a positive effect.” But at the same time, “this is also It is far from enough. It is also necessary to truly improve the lives of citizens.”
Facing the population absorption effect of surrounding cities, Panzhihua needs more supporting policies to enhance the policy value of talent subsidies and all-round services. A further question is how to enhance location advantages, match more high-energy industries that meet the economic conditions of the region, retain population resources, and help promote the development of cities.
From this point of view, this “shrinking city” has introduced a talent policy that is ahead of the curve. The 500 yuan maternity subsidy has its own demonstration significance. As a national first, it has improved the visibility of the city; as a policy guide, giving money means giving an attitude. Under the background of “double minus”, the chess pieces that lay out the future need to fall step by step.