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Strengthening Self-reliance to Address the Issue of Welfare-Based Subsistence Allowances(No. 35, 2016)


By Wang Weijin, Research Team on “Social Governance”, Institute of Public Administration and Human Resources, DRC

Research Report No. 35, 2016 ( Total 4918) 2016-3-28

Abstract: Due to inappropriate target-oriented management and policy design, the subsistence allowances in China are inclined to turn into a welfare-based system. It finds expression mainly in three aspects: the proportion of people covered by subsistence allowances is bigger than that of other East Asia countries and regions which are also influenced by Confucian culture; people who live on basic living allowances can obtain other additional assistance beyond the minimum government subsidy; and an equal sharing is practiced in the recognition of qualifications for allowance receivers. These facts have led to the low-level minimum standard of basic treatment, receivers have become more dependent on government subsidy, and the risk of instability at the grass-roots level is further intensified. To carry out the goal of poverty alleviation with targeted measures, this report suggests that the spirit of self-reliance should be encouraged, and the policy of subsistence allowances should be implemented by way of subsidy or subsistence assistance. It puts forward three measures to raise the standard for providing allowances. 1. When checking the family income, those able-bodied laborers without job can at least obtain the minimum local wage;2. The responsibility of a legal person for the maintenance and support of a person or persons with unmarried-cohabitation relationship should be strictly clarified; 3. Families who possess a large amount of property should be excluded from enjoying subsistence assistance. In the respect of management, it is recommended to accelerate the system integration of relevant information relating to subsistence allowances, establish an online inquiry platform, and make pilot practice to perform more independent dynamic management through the use of big data e-commerce.

Key words: subsistence allowances, governance, poverty alleviation