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Data collection helps lift people out of poverty

By SHI BAOYIN and QI XIN in Zhengzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-23 09:02

As China's fight against poverty enters a new phase of targeted solutions, Henan province has sharpened its review system to ensure poor people achieve and maintain real improvements.

Over the past five years, information has been collected from every village in the province to not only identify those in poverty, but also keep track of those who have improved their situation.

In some cases, people can slip back into poverty for various reasons such as the cost of medical treatment or financial loss due to natural disasters, said Zhu Fulin, information director from the Henan Provincial Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

"The precise recognition based on up-to-date information is the first step in fighting poverty, allowing us to provide targeted help," he said.

Zhu said data is collected and updated every week from the information centers of all villages.

Last year, the review system helped locate 71,000 people who were added to the poverty list and noted only 2,000 people had dropped back into poverty.

Henan has made great progress in poverty reduction due to the updated information and adjustment of management systems, said Shi Bingrui, head of the poverty alleviation office.

With a population of more than 100 million people, Henan saw around 6 million people lifted out of poverty between 2013 and 2018, data from the provincial government showed.

The per capita disposable income in impoverished rural areas last year reached 11,911 yuan ($1,730), a 10.4 percent increase year-on-year, Shi said.

This year, the province has vowed that greater efforts will result in 650,000 poor people in rural areas leaving poverty behind as the country works to eradicate absolute poverty by the end of next year, Shi said. A total of 1,000 impoverished villages in the densely populated province will shake off poverty this year, he added.

Henan has also improved public services including healthcare and education in poverty-stricken areas and helped poor residents repair dilapidated houses, Zhu said, adding that more funds went to regions in greater need.

Last year over 17.8 billion yuan was allocated by the central government to provincial, city and county governments in Henan for poverty relief. This was a 23.4 percent increase from 2017, data from the poverty alleviation office showed.

In addition to the extra funding, the provincial government has encouraged more people to work in impoverished villages to guide poverty relief efforts. Over 13,000 officials and volunteers have been sent to grassroots areas to offer services to the people.

Businessman Dai Yujian, 37, returned to his hometown in Daizhuang village, Lankao county, in 2014"to help my villagers in need", he said.

Dai helped the villagers to plant commercial crops using new technologies and then take them to market. With his assistance, the average village income jumped from 4,600 yuan in 2014 to 11,600 yuan in 2017.

But a return to his village has come at a personal financial cost. He said his annual income has dropped dramatically from over 6 million yuan a year, but "the improvement of the village is more important than individual loss, and I am proud of what I have done".

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