CPPCC National Committee member Shen Wen has said that the country's poverty line is surprisingly low. Hence, she has proposed at the annual sessions of the NPC and the CPPCC National Committee that it be raised, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:
China, no doubt, has lifted millions of people out of poverty and made huge progress in overall poverty alleviation, especially after launching the reform and opening-up. But it is now necessary to raise the minimum income level, because of sharply rising prices of commodities.
The government has to intensify its efforts to help the poorest group, too, and reform the income distribution structure.
Two poverty lines exist in China today. The State Office of Poverty Alleviation abides by a consumption poverty line according to figures of the National Bureau of Statistics. But there is a second rural poverty line, which serves as the standard in poverty alleviation programs of civil administration departments and is determined at local levels.
Raising the poverty line considerably will inevitably cause a considerable increase in the population of the poor. But it will be a move in the right direction to help the most vulnerable group. Since poverty alleviation is a core task of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), providing relief to the poorest should be the top priority of the authorities.
Compared with the average economic growth of about 10 percent over the past years, the increase in the rate for central poverty alleviation funds is low. So if the poverty line is raised, more people would benefit from the policy.
We hope the country makes greater progress in poverty alleviation, especially when the government has enough funds to make it possible.
(China Daily 03/09/2011 page10)