BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Beijing has started to examine a draft to relax the one child policy, the start of the legislative procedure, authorities said on Friday.
The Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People's Congress is examining an amendment to the Beijing Municipal Population and Family Planning Regulations. If the amendment is passed, the new policy is expected to start since March 2014.
In the draft, couples will be allowed to have two children if one of them is an only child. Current policy only allows couples who are both single children to have two.
Obviously the new policy will up Beijing's birth rate, which will in turn affect public services and other aspects of society and the economy, said committee member Sun Shichao.
China's family planning policy was first introduced in the late 1970s to rein in population increase by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two, if the first child was a girl.
The policy was relaxed and its current form stipulates that both parents must be only children if they are to have a second offspring.
The State Council, China's cabinet, has submitted the family planning bill to the bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).
The new policy is expected to go into force in some regions in the first quarter of 2014.