China on Sunday officially put an end to its age-old one-child policy, with the National People's Congress' Standing Committee's approval of the bill that allows a married couple to have two children. The law will come into effect on 1 January, 2016.
"The state advocates that one couple shall be allowed to have two children," the revised Law on Population and Family Planning reads, Xinhua News Agency reported.
The one-child policy was partially relaxed in 2013 if one of the parents was a single child. However, the Communist Party proposed a bill in October this year to officially introduce the two-child policy after demographers warned that by 2030 the ageing population (above 60 years) would rise as much as 25%.
"To promote a balanced growth of population, China will continue to uphold the basic national policy of population control and improve its strategy on population development," a CNN report quoted the party as saying in a statement.
"China will fully implement the policy of 'one couple, two children' in a proactive response to the issue of an ageing population," the statement read.
The one-child policy was introduced in the late 1978 and implemented in September 1980 to bring the increasing population in the country under control. The move was also meant to maintain economic balance.
The one-child policy reportedly led to forced abortions and infanticides, and those who would fail to abide by the laws were fined heftily. The Chinese government had claimed to have prevented 400 million births with the one-child policy.
However, gender imbalance and a decline in the workforce due to the increase in ageing population forced China to reconsider the policy. China has the world's largest population at 1.37 billion, but the working-age population has slumped, severely affecting its economy, AFP reported.
With the new two-child policy, the Chinese government aims at increasing the population to 1.45 billion by 2030, Daily News & Analysis reported.