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Opinion: Thinking of the poor people
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-10 08:16

Needs of low-income groups should be considered when authorities use price leverage to curb resource consumption, according to an article in Workers' Daily. An excerpt follows:

It is reported that the price of running water in cities will increase to 5 yuan (60 US cents) per ton from the current 2.9 yuan (35 US cents) per ton.

This is an effective way to encourage people to save water, a very limited natural resource in China.

However, we should fully estimate its influence upon the life of low-income families when we introduce market-orientated aims. On such occasions, relieving poverty takes on new urgency.

Low-income families in urban areas have to spend a large proportion of their income to satisfy basic needs such as food, electricity and water. Their quality of life is more vulnerable to any price change in these commodities.

According to the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, the monthly expenditure by urban families on necessities rose by 33 yuan (US$3.97) for each person this spring.

That is to say, a family of three persons will incur a rise of 100 yuan (US$12) in living costs every month.

The authorities should consider the needs of low-income groups and carry out measures to help them, such as offering special subsidies.

This is an issue that may endanger social stability, and it is the responsibility of the government to set up a network to help the financially disadvantaged.

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