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Government Wants to Extend Maternity Pay Program Until 2025

Mothers and their children in a Moscow park. Vladimir Filonov

The government has proposed to let the current program of subsidies for families with two or more children run until 2025, the labor and social development minister said Wednesday.

The so-called maternity capital program was set to expire at the end of 2016, but the government wants to extend it by another nine years, Minister Maxim Topilin said, RIA Novosti reported.

The government has also submitted to President Vladimir Putin a proposal to expand the range of projects that the subsidies can be used for, including renting properties and starting-up businesses, an unidentified social affairs official said. The official didn't specify whether extending the program's duration was also part of that proposal.

There is no time limit on when maternity capital certificates can be used, but families need to have at least two children by the time the program ends to be eligible to receive one.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier called for extending the program, which many credit for helping reverse Russia's birth rate decline. The value of maternity payments, adjusted annually for inflation, reached 409,000 rubles ($12,300) per family this year.

Birth rates in Russia have gone up by 30 percent since 2007, Topilin said this summer. He attributed the trend partly to the introduction of maternity capital that six years ago.

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