HA NOI — The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has completed its proposed amendments to the National Target Programme for Building New Rural Areas for the 2011-15 period, with a vision until 2020 that sets out new adjustments to the criteria for labour structure and average income per person.
|A vocational training class teaches tailoring skills to workers in nothern Bac Giang Province. Developing vocational training is expected to raise living standards of people in rural areas. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
In particular, the ministry has proposed replacing the labour structure criterion in order to raise the employment rate of the working-age population in rural areas to 90 per cent.
The existing target specifies that less than 30 per cent of the working-age population work in agriculture, forestry and fishery. The goal of this specification is to restructure the labour proportion to reflect more non-agricultural sectors.
However, three years since the issuance of Decision 491 on the National Target Programme for Building New Rural Areas in 2009, many communes have failed to meet this criterion, with only 3-5 per cent of workers switching to non-agricultural sectors, according to Tang Minh Loc, head of the Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development under MARD.
Loc said the existing target did not suit the labour characteristics of agriculture-focused communes and conflicted with people's needs in some communes.
He pointed out that in many communes such as those in the flower-growing Da Lat City or the industrial crop-growing communes in Central Highlands, the proportion of agricultural workers stood at 65-80 per cent, but the workers' average income was high, at VND40-45 million (US$1,900-2,140) per person per year.
"Although our long-term target is changing the labour structure to include a higher proportion of non-agricultural sectors, the current priority is firstly to ensure a low unemployment rate."
The ministry has also proposed setting the target criterion for average income per person in rural areas at VND22 million ($1,050) per person per year.
The existing target specified that average income per person per year increase by 1.4 times the current provincial level. This was decided to be irrelevant because of the change in the average provincial income year after year. The level was also not clear enough for local authorities to work out specific plans, said Loc.
According to the General Statistic Office's 2010 income survey, 20 per cent of the nation's communes with the highest income have an average income of VND16.1 million (nearly $770) per person per year.
"Suppose we maintain the average growth of 7 per cent as in the 2006-11 period. By the year 2015, the average income of these communes will reach about VND22.5 million ($1,070) per person per year," Loc said, explaining the reason for the adjustment.
The National Target Programme for Building New Rural Areas set 19 criteria for rural communes, including criteria for traffic, housing, education, social safety and income.
The programme, which aims to promote the living standards of people in rural areas, has been in effect for three years. — VNS