Nearly 77 percent of China's rural poor have been covered by the
country's subsistence allowances system so far, the Ministry of
Civil Affairs said in Beijing on Sunday.
"Twenty-seven provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions
have already established the system, benefiting 18.15 million
people," an official with the ministry said.
People, who are covered by the system, received 33.2 yuan
(US$4.25) on average each month by the end of 2006 and the figure
dropped to 27.6 yuan (US$3.61) by the end of the first quarter of
"As government financial subsidy increases, the allowance will
increase gradually," the official with the ministry said, without
China has been experimenting the allowance system for years,
which were seen as an effort to narrow the gap between rural and
urban areas and safeguard social equity.
China's State Council, or the cabinet, last Wednesday held an
executive meeting on expanding a rural subsistence allowances
system that will satisfy the rural poor's minimum requirements for
The meeting, chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, decided to cover all needy people
in rural areas across the country under the allowance program,
including the aged, the disabled and those who are unable to
Local governments are responsible for the operation of the
allowance program, and the central budget will allocate subsidies
to areas with financial difficulties, according to the meeting.
China has 23.65 million rural poor, with annual per capita
income lower than 683 yuan (US$87.6), by the end of 2005, 5.62
million less than in 2001, according to data from the State Council
Leading Group of the Office of Poverty Alleviation and
(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2007)