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Rural Pension System Extended to 2 Mln Tibetan Farmers, Herdsmen

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China's pilot rural pension system covers the entire Tibet Autonomous Region, benefiting more than 2 million farmers and herdsmen, a regional government official said Monday.

The government-subsidized scheme, which began in November 2009 in seven of Tibet's counties, cities and districts, had been extended to all 73 counties, cities and districts by November last year, said a spokesman with the region's human resources and social security department at the annual regional people's congress session.

The scheme included a basic pension and individual accounts, the official said.

Every rural Tibetan resident aged 60 or over received 55 yuan (US$8.3) a month as a basic pension, and the amount would increase in accordance with social and economic development.

Residents aged 16 to 59 with personal accounts, which included personal payments, village subsidies, social funding, government allowances and interest, could choose to pay 100 to 500 yuan annually for 15 consecutive years to increase their pensions after turning 60.

People who invested in their pensions would be given a 30-yuan government subsidy each year, said the official.

Tibet has a rural population of 2.21 million, of whom more than 235,000 are aged 60 or over. By the end of last year, more than 76 million yuan had been allocated in pensions to rural Tibet residents, according to the Human Resources and Social Security Department of Tibet Autonomous Region.

(Xinhua News Agency January 11, 2011)

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