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MPs Discuss Ways to Increase Population

A proposal by the New Rights opposition party to provide financial assistance to families to boost the country’s birth rate is set to fail, as the ruling majority in Parliament deems it ?unrealistic.?

A package of draft laws, discussed by Parliament on October 23, proposes state-funding of GEL 500 for each newborn, GEL 300 a month for a third child under the age of 14 and an additional GEL 100 for any subsequent child. It is also proposed to increase the length of paid maternity leave from the current four months to one year.

Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights party, said that the scheme would cost approximately GEL 500 million a year. The fund, he said, should be managed by the Georgian Orthodox Church, with a special agreement between church and state regulating the former’s role.

Lawmakers from the ruling party said the proposal would fail to boost the birth rate. In any case, ?demanding half a billion [Georgian Lari], or even more, for this type of program is not serious,? Maia Nadiradze, the parliamentary majority leader, said.

She also said it was ?not appropriate? to involve the Georgian Orthodox Church in a proposal of this type. Distribution of state funds is a function of the government and not the Church, she said.

A vote on the proposal is expected later this week.

Georgia?s population was slightly over 4.4 million in 2006, according to the Department of Statistics. Official data revealed a birth rate of 10.8 per 1,000 people and a death rate of 9.6 per 1,000 last year.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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