The central government is taking measures to improve nursery services to help create a friendlier child-rearing environment.
Hao Fuqing, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference on Wednesday that a lack of baby nursery services is the main reason for the nation's lower birth rate.
"Some surveys indicate that for around one-third of families in urban areas, public services can meet some of their nursery care needs, but it's not enough," he said. "The experience we've learned from the other countries and regions shows that developing nursery services is key to helping relieve families' burdens and increasing people's desire to have children."
Hao said the nation will channel more resources into developing the public nursery sector, and more companies and social organizations will be encouraged to invest in nursery centers and build service stations in residential communities.
He said that the government will also regulate fees charged by nurseries to make sure prices are reasonable and affordable. Additionally, some supportive policies will be rolled out for nurseries, such as reducing their water bills and electricity and gas fees.
On Tuesday, 17 central departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, released a guideline to increase the nation's population growth. Comprehensive measures on marriage, fertility, nurseries and education are included in the guideline.