Government aims to promote population growth

Government Commission will develop a state program to solve demographic issues in Georgia. Photo by Radio Liberty, 11 Mar 2014 - 15:26, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian parents of multiple children in regions where the population is declining will be offered a monthly allowance by the Government of Georgia.

This is one of a handful of new initiatives aimed at resolving demographic problems in Georgia.

A Government Commission involving local experts from a variety of fields has been founded to discuss and resolve a range of issues facing the community. It will be led by the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Today, a working group was created at a meeting between Government members and representatives of the Demographic Revival Fund. Leading representatives from numerous sectors, including Health, Economy and Finance Ministries, Head of the Parliamentary Committee of Health and other invited experts will be members of the Commission.

The Commission is aimed with developing a state program to solve demographic issues in cooperation with the Demographic Revival Fund, and other non-governmental organisations and experts.

One of the ways to boost the population in rural areas was to give parents a monthly allowance. The initiative, by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, will see parents living in regions with a significant decline in birth rates receive a monthly allowance from the Government after having every third child.

The amount of aid will be 200 GEL in mountainous regions and 150 GEL in other areas.

The project will be implemented in six regions of the country in its first stage and will be launched on June 1 of this year.

After today’s meeting Deputy Minister of Health Dimitri Khundadze said the country’s demographic situation needed to be evaluated.

"Georgia is facing number of problems and demographic situation is among them. Today we had a meeting with the Prime Minister.

Demographic problems have also been raised to national politics - a Governmental group was created, which will be led by the PM himself,” Khundadze said.

He noted Georgia was experiencing a "severe demographic situation” where the birth rate following World War II was higher than it is today.

"Statistically, after the Second World War the peak was in the 1970s when more than 120,000 children were born. Today, the rate is less than half of that. The situation is catastrophic in terms of abortion as well. Forty thousand abortions were carried out in 2012, [which was 8,000 more than in 2011],” Khundadze added.