By Matvey Vasiliev
Everything matters in the social sphere. Each decision is anticipated by millions of people; their salaries, pensions, allowances and quality of life may depend upon a particular course of action. Accordingly, it’s extremely important to outline priorities wisely and weigh the risks.
“Human potential is the most important factor of socio-economic development,” explains the Labour and Social Protection Minister, Marianna Shchetkina. “Global demographic trends, primarily de-population and people’s ageing, have led to demographic growth becoming a priority for the country’s national security.” With this in mind, cumulative birth rates should rise to 1.6-1.7 by 2015. According to the Minister, there’s no need to take European figures of 1.2-1.4 as an example. It’s necessary to reach a higher level, since the present birth rate ensures only 65.5 percent of the population’s reproduction. One of the most important state tasks is to create conditions for parents to be able to raise children without harming their own professional or personal growth.
Ms. Shchetkina believes that ‘demographic processes could be and, more importantly, must be governed’. She mentions the results of Belarus’ 2007-2010 national demographic security programme, most of the goals of which have been fulfilled. The birth rate reached 11.4 per thousand in 2010, while life expectancy rose. However, death rates remain high. In recent 10 years, Belarus’ population has fallen by 540,000. “We need to stop this trend,” asserts the Minister. “It’s evident that, in coming years, the consequences of the 1990s demographic recession will manifest themselves. The process is already being seen: in 2010, our birth rate stood at 98.5 percent of 2009 figures, while the death rate stood at 101.7 percent. It’s vital to elaborate measures and adopt them promptly to ease the consequences of the demographic fall.”