E-commerce, rural tourism seen as new ways of helping less-developed areas
China will continue to work vigorously to improve livelihoods and lift no less than 10 million people out of poverty in 2019 in order to lay a solid foundation for winning the battle against poverty, a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Monday.
According to the progress update at the Monday meeting, 13.86 million people were lifted out of poverty in 2018. Figures from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development show the new approach of achieving poverty relief by developing emerging industries such as e-commerce, photovoltaics and rural tourism in underdeveloped regions has paid off.
Infrastructure development in impoverished areas has been accelerated. Some 208,000 kilometers of roads were built and renovated in rural areas in 2018. Substantial progress has been seen in rural power grid upgrades, and about 94 percent of poor villages are now covered by broadband internet services.
"We must strive to meet the poverty alleviation target for this year. Making poverty history by 2020 is the solemn commitment our Party and government has made to the people. We must fulfill this commitment by ensuring full delivery of all related policies and consolidating the progress we have made," Li said.
It was decided at the meeting that efforts will be intensified this year to help the most impoverished members of the population. Increases in the poverty alleviation fund under the central government budget will be mainly channeled to these areas.
Projects under the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) that help development in poor areas will be prioritized and enhanced. The difficulties poor people face in meeting the five essential needs of food, clothing, compulsory education, basic healthcare and shelter will be tackled down to every household.
Counties that have emerged from poverty will remain eligible for related policy incentives by 2020 - the final-stage in the fight against poverty. Those members of society who fall back into poverty, as well as the newly documented poor, will be promptly provided support.
The meeting urged cutting the number of poor by another 10 million this year to lay a solid foundation for winning the final battle against poverty.
"We must strictly enforce the poverty criteria involving the five essential needs," Li said, "Every penny of the poverty alleviation fund must be used effectively and transparently."