The Chinese authorities are starting an unprecedented policy to stimulate birth rates in the most populated country of the world after a high ranking state institution warned that the decline in the population is a “national crisis” for Beijing.

A study published by the China’s largest political advisory body – Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, estimates that labour force in the country will decline by 100 million every 15 years after 2020 and insists on more incentives for child birth and care.

The study shows that more government agencies have understood the extent of the problem.

Surprisingly, according to the report, the total number of births in the province of Shandong in eastern China, where residents are most willing to have a second child, fell in 2017 compared to the previous year. While many would like to have more than one child, respondents say they cannot afford the costs.

For this purpose, some regions in China provide greater financial benefits to families as part of their efforts to encourage them to have a second child.

31 provinces, regions and municipalities extended the period of 98 days for maternity to a range between 138 and 158 days. For new mothers this period is going to be paid as well. Fathers will also have the right to leave, ranging from 15 to 30 days on average. Apart from longer maternity leave, families with a second child will also receive other benefits involving financial assistance and health services. Mothers with a second child in the town of Shihezi in the Xinjiang -Uyghur autonomous region will receive a lump-sum subsidy up to 1000 RMB as well as milk for three years and in Liaoning province they are considering a second-child remuneration.

The Chinese fertility rate was 1.7 in 2016 and China’s statistical anniversary for 2017, issued by the National Statistical Bureau, has not yet shown the degree of fertility. Chinese GDP was $80 trillion (11.9 trillion dollars) in 2017 and there are currently about 200 million children in the country.

The authors of the study hope that artificial intelligence technology can help offset the negative effects of the shrinking labour force. The Chinese government has changed its long-term one-child policy in 2016 and allowed married couples to have two children.