To meet the goal of lifting over 10 million more people out of poverty in 2017, related departments have focused on a series of policies and measures to tackle poverty in the first quarter of the year.
This year, central finance will increase more than 30 percent in special funds for poverty alleviation. To accurately allocate the funds to targeted regions, the Ministry of Finance and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development on Feb 6 decided to expand the pilot areas for integration of agriculture-related funds to all 832 poor counties that receive relief and preferential policies.
“By encouraging poor counties to remove the barrier and make use of various funds, restrictions on poverty-alleviation funds were loosened, which ensures the funds are directed to the most important destination, crucial link and targeted group,” said Wang Sangui, chief of the center for anti-poverty studies at Renmin University.
In addition, the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission on March 13 announced in a guideline that the fund use for poverty alleviation will no long be specified, instead a negative list will be established to oversee the fund.
It also requires delegating the approval authority for central government’s special fund for poverty relief to the county level, strengthening local governments’ responsibility in managing the special fund.
On March 23, the General Office of the State Council issued a guideline on making government affairs public, requiring more efforts in information disclosure concerning poverty relief policies, measures, effectiveness and poverty relief-funded projects.
“Enhancing the disclosure of poverty relief information can ensure that data on the poor population, those who shake off poverty, and who return to poverty is obtained in a timely manner,” said Wu Baoguo, researcher at the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
To alleviate the burden of medical expenses for the poor, at the beginning of this year, several ministries rolled out measures on medical assistance and reducing medical and rehabilitation expenses for poor and disabled people.
Meanwhile, six ministries, including the Ministry of Civil Affairs, jointly issued rules in February to further promote the connection of medical assistance with serious illness insurance for urban-rural residents.