Document prioritizes higher rural incomes
Updated: February 5, 2024 08:10 China Daily

China will continue to prioritize increasing the income of rural residents and preventing them from slipping into poverty this year, as their livelihood is closely tied to the nation's social and economic development, said senior officials.

The nation unveiled its annual No 1 Central Document on Saturday, focusing on rural vitalization and food security. The document is the first policy statement released each year by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China's Cabinet.

The document requires governments at all levels to release effective policies supporting rural household businesses, such as poultry farming and manual workshops, and promoting well-organized labor export campaigns to create more job opportunities for the group.

The document also mandates a long-term mechanism to prevent wage arrears from piling up, and calls for regular skills training campaigns for migrant workers.

"Increasing the income of rural residents is key to agricultural work. Thankfully, the income growth has been good in recent years," said Zhu Weidong, deputy director of the Office of the Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs, at a news conference in Beijing on Sunday.

Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that the per capita disposable income of rural residents reached 21,691 yuan ($3,015) in 2023, up 7.6 percent year-on-year in real terms after adjusting for inflation.
Zhu noted that hurdles still exist on the path to increasing rural incomes, requiring more diversified and effective measures in the near future.

"Helping the rural population manage their household businesses matters a lot.... We will make efforts to stabilize the income they earn when working away from their hometowns," he said.

"We will build up a long-term mechanism to prevent and fundamentally solve the problem of back pay and enhance skills training for migrant workers," he said.

He added that the nation will expand social security benefits to cover more rural residents, tighten supervision to prevent illegal activities such as fraud or cash extraction in agriculture-related projects, and encourage farmers to rent out vacant properties or develop these properties cooperatively with others to increase their incomes.

The document also emphasizes preventing rural residents from slipping back into poverty.

Han Wenxiu, deputy director of the Office of the Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs, stated at the news conference that shaking off poverty is not a "once and for all" move, as people still face risks of slipping into poverty due to situations like layoffs, diseases, disasters or accidents.

He said that the government will continue to carefully monitor people at risk of returning to poverty this year and provide policy or financial support to strengthen local industries or companies, which can, in turn, offer stable jobs to help people out of poverty.

He added that more preferential policies on monetary, financial, land, and talent resources will be continuously given to some key areas, including counties, to help them achieve better lives.

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