A girl is seen at the Red Square, downtown Moscow, Russia, Jan. 6, 2017. (Xinhua/Wu Zhuang)
MOSCOW, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday proposed a series of measures to encourage births as the native population is declining in the world's largest country.
"Today we need to take a set of measures that will make it possible to stabilize the situation and prevent a decline in the population in the coming decade," Putin said at a governmental meeting.
He warned that the demographic situation in Russia is worsening, mainly due to heavy losses during World War II and economic problems in the mid-1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
To improve the situation, he proposed to increase financial support to large families and families with modest incomes, especially young ones, as well as create additional incentives for the birth of a second or third child.
Putin suggested the government start monthly cash payments from next year. The money would be provided at the birth of the first child and continued till the child became 18 months old.
He also called for extending an existing financial support program for families with a second child or more to the end of 2021. In its present form, the program is to expire in 2018.
Other incentives include special mortgage lending programs for families with two or three children, better kindergartens, nurseries and medical care facilities for children.
Russia had 146.8 million people as of February 2017, slightly up from 146.5 million a year ago, according to the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), the official statistics agency.
However, Rosstat data showed that the increase was caused by inflows of migrants, while the number of native people was gradually declining.
The number of deaths in Russia exceeded the number of births by 8.3 percent in January-September 2017, it said.
The agency forecast that if the current situation continued, the Russian population may remain unchanged by 2036 or decline to 138.4 million in the worst case.