Beijing, Mar 15 : China's population above 60 years has touched 420 million and that of children over six years to 100 million, putting heavy pressure on nursing services and day care centres, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.
After implementing the decades-old 'one-child policy', the world's most populous country China is facing demographic crisis with rapidly ageing population. It permitted to have the second child in 2016.
China currently has 250 million people above 60 years and 170 million above 65 years, Li said during his annual press conference here.
The supply of nursing services for the elderly and infants in China is insufficient and cannot meet demand, and this situation deserves the highest attention, Li said.
There are only three beds on average for every 100 citizens in nursing homes, he said.
"In big cities people have to wait 90 years before they get beds in nursing homes," he said, adding that due to the shortage of supply services, many people in big cities find it difficult to find a nursing home for their elderly parents.
Similarly, there are 100 million children below six years who too need day care centres, the premier said.
The shortage of day care facilities for infants has become more prominent after the implementation of the universal second-child policy, which allowed all couples on the Chinese mainland to have two children, Li said.
Even if we accelerate building elderly nursing homes and multi-functional kindergartens, the supply shortage may not be completely eased due to the rapid population ageing in China, he said.
Innovative measures are needed to address the shortages of such services to meet public demand, Li said, adding that developing community-based nursing services for the elderly and infants can help as nursing facilities in communities can be more accessible to people.
The government should take more measures to encourage private investment to develop the services, but effective supervision is needed to ensure such services are safe, Li added.