More State help for landless farmers
XI'AN: Farmers in Xi'an, the capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, will get more support from the government when they lose their farmland to increasing urbanization, if they have paid a small fee for insurance each month.
The Circular for the Establishment of the Social Security System for the Land-expropriated Farmers, issued by the government over the weekend, will help ensure farmer's living and medical conditions, said Zhao Zhengyao, an official with the Xi'an municipal government.
The new ruling will take effect on July 1.
Previously, if farmers had land taken from them they would be given a one-off payment of money. The new method will build a social security system, Zhao said.
The system will deal with medical care and basic living standards, he added.
Farmers welcomed the new arrangements. "It is a wonderful policy for those of us whose land has been taken away," said He Chunshe, head of the Majiashizi villagers' committee.
Wang Xiaoping, from the same village, said farmers were pleased "because we can enjoy the treatment of basic old-age insurance just like urban employees when we reach retirement age. Of course, we have to pay insurance money for 15 years before we can benefit from the scheme. But the benefit is much larger than the money we pay."
The village, located in the northern Weiyang District, has 60 households with a total population of 240 people. In recent years, increasing urban construction means most farmland has gone. Each farmer received 35,000 yuan (US$4,220) in compensation.
"At present, we have almost no land for agricultural production and have no income from agriculture. The only thing we can do is build a house with the compensation money and let rooms out to make a living. But it is not a reliable means of supporting ourselves," said farmer He.
Wu Nande, an expert on social security, said the former policy only compensated the farmers once, and they could use the money for nothing but building a house.
However, this will not ensure the farmers' future lives, the expert said.
(China Daily 06/07/2005 page3)