China to intensify poverty relief
Xinhua, December 28, 2016 Adjust font size:
Twenty years ago, Yang Ga'nyu, an ordinary farmer woman in a poverty-stricken mountain village, drew a train on the wall of her home, hoping that one day she could travel by train to see the outside world.
Her dream came true on Monday as Minxian-Guangyuan section of Lanzhou-Chongqing railway was put into service, linking her hometown with more developed regions.
Yang's case is far from unique: China has increased efforts to build infrastructure in less-developed areas to help alleviate poverty and improve people's livelihoods.
Aiming to eliminate poverty by 2020, China has made huge strides in poverty reduction. The country is on track to achieve the government's target of lifting 10 million people out of poverty this year.
Government spending on poverty hit a record high this year, exceeding 100 billion yuan (about 14.5 billion U.S. dollars) for the first time.
The central budget allocated 66.7 billion yuan for poverty reduction this year, up 43.4 percent year on year, while provincial government allocation rose more than 50 percent to top 40 billion yuan.
Industrial development is at the heart of government work as it is seen as key to alleviating poverty.
With 30 million people set to rise out of poverty by 2020 through industrial development, relocation has also been highlighted this year. Hundreds of impoverished counties now have formal arrangements for relocation, with many underway.
Tuition fees and other expenses have been waived for senior high school students from poor families, while basic medical care services now cover all poor people in rural areas.
Preferential tax policies, reduced loan interest, and incentives have encouraged financial institutions to offer more products for reducing poverty.
China has been consistent in its commitment on poverty. Over the past three decades, some 700 million people across the country no longer consider themselves "poor."
The first developing country to meet the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty by half, China plans to lift people out of poverty by 2020.
To meet this goal, China must lift 10 million people out of poverty each year from 2016 to 2020.
According to a poverty alleviation plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) released by the central government earlier this month, China will carry out poverty relief measures using regional development strategies.
The country will work on several fronts to reduce poverty in 2017: industrial development in poor regions; easier access to employment, healthcare and education; and improving infrastructure in poor regions.