BELGRADE, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Struggling to improve poor demographic outlook, Serbia increased funds for birth stimulation measures by 30 percent for next year, its ministry in charge of demography and population policy announced at a press conference here on Friday.
Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, minister without portfolio in charge of demography and population policy, summed up the results of the 2018 measures and announced further moves to turn around the ongoing depopulation trend due to negative natural increase.
She revealed that Serbia spent 500 million RSD (4.81 million U.S. dollars) in 2018 to improve its demographic situation, through various projects of local self-government for stimulation of birth.
Most of the money was spent on projects such as "arranging preschools and playgrounds for children, encouraging youth employment, equipping health institutions and building houses for young couples," she said.
Next year's budget envisages even higher expenditure for such measures, summing up to 650 million RSD (6.25 million U.S. dollars), which represents a 30 percent increase over this year.
Serbia, country of 7.02 million people, loses almost 39,000 people each year due to negative natural increase at about -5.3 percent, which is roughly the size of a small Serbian city.
Currently, the law on Financial Support for Families with Children stipulates that for each first child, the parents receive one-off payment of 100,000 RSD (962 dollars); for second child, the family receives 96.29 dollars monthly for two years; for the third child, the family receives about 115.55 dollars monthly for ten years, and for the fourth, 173 dollars monthly for ten years.
Moreover, women can expect greater benefits for pregnancy and maternity leave in 2019, Djukic-Dejanovic assured.