HA NOI — Hundreds of farmers in Ha Noi's outlying district of Thanh Oai are enjoying a comfortable Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday with the retirement pension they began receiving this month.
Nguyen Nhu Ton, 70, and his wife Nguyen Thi Nen, 67, of Bach Nao Hamlet in the district's Thanh Van Commune received a pension of VND300,000 (US$14) each thanks to an insurance scheme under which they paid a monthly premium of VND20,000 ($1) for 20 years.
"This year I have some money to purchase Tet gifts for my grandsons and granddaughters," Ton said.
A 74-year-old woman To Minh Thuy from the commune's Uc Ly Hamlet was so happy that she burst into tears as she received her retirement pension for the first time.
Her son paid an insurance premium of VND4.8 million ($228) and now she can enjoy VND300,000 ($14) per month until the day she dies.
As of April 2011, the insurance scheme for farmers had attracted the participation of 264 local residents, said Quang Van Tinh, Secretary of the commune's Party Committee.
From the beginning of 2012, 196 farmers of 60 years old and above received the first month of retirement pension from the scheme, Tinh said.
By the end of 2011, an additional of 1,056 local residents in the commune had joined the scheme, according to Tran Van Tuan, chairman of the commune's People's Committee.
More and more local residents have realised the benefits of the insurance scheme and registered to join after it started paying the retirement pension to participating farmers, Tuan said.
Almost all elderly people in the commune have joined the scheme, he said.
The insurance fund, which has so far reached nearly VND39 billion ($1.8 billion), is being kept as savings in the bank, he said, adding that the interest was being used to pay the pension for eligible farmers.
The commune People's Committee targets attracting 70 per cent of working age people to join the insurance scheme by 2013. — VNS