A minimum living subsidy has been established in rural areas of all 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of China, the Civil Affairs Ministry revealed on Tuesday.
The system covered 20.68 million rural people by the end of June, Li Liguo, Vice Minister of Civil Affairs, said in an interview on the central government website.
Local governments at all levels had established their own rural minimum living subsidy standard in line with standard of local economic development and financial abilities.
"The rural minimum living subsidies are a foundation for a nationwide social security system," Li said. "It is possible to cover all rural poor people by the end of this year."
He also urged local governments to allocate finances to ensure the subsidies have enough funding.
All subsidies should be given to the farmers no later than the end of the year, he added.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2007)