|Farmers of the Mong ethnic group work on a rice terrace in mountainous Mu Cang Chai District in the northeastern province of Yen Bai. The implementation of a development policy in mountainous areas is a key task towards bridging the gap between Vietnamese ethnic groups. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha
HA NOI (VNS)— Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked ministries and agencies to raise efforts in implementing the Party and State's development policy in ethnic and mountainous regions.
This must be considered as a key task towards bridging the gap in development among Vietnamese ethnic groups, he stressed.
At a national conference in Ha Noi yesterday to review and launch policies for ethnic and mountainous areas, Dung said that the regions are critical for development of the country's economy, politics and national defence.
Ethnic and mountainous regions make up nearly three quarters of the country's total area and are home to 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups - 53 of which are ethnic minorities – and 12.3 million people, accounting for 14.27 per cent of the national population.
Following the first stage of Programme 135, policies for the 2006-12 period helped ease difficulties in ethnic and mountainous areas, especially in infrastructure, poverty reduction, housing and water supply, lending and resettlement, which cost over VND54.7 trillion (US$2.6 billion) in State budget.
The areas also saw remarkable progress in education.
As many as 99.5 percent of communes have primary schools, 93.2 per cent and 12.9 per cent possess junior high schools respectively.
Healthcare networks spread rapidly with 99.39 per cent of communes boasting healthcare centres. In 2011, up to 94.2 per cent of villages had medical staff.
Meanwhile, radio and television coverage topped 90 per cent and 80 per cent respectively. Educational campaigns on law saw positive developments and political systems are strengthened on a regular basis, especially those at community level.
Despite encouraging results, these areas have the highest rates of poor households. Infrastructure is frequently hit by natural disasters so it remains weak and inadequate.
Basic services like education, healthcare and mass media have yet to meet development demand, and the quality of human resources remains low.
Prime Minister Dung requested relevant agencies to perfect mechanisms and policies for ethnic and mountainous areas to synchronise them with the present situation and reassess plans for implementation to improve their effectiveness.
They were also required to focus efforts on poverty reduction, prevent famine in natural disaster-hit areas, and assist locals to develop family-based economies like farming and animal husbandry.
At the same time, it is necessary to make it easier for locals to protect and enrich themselves from forests, Dung said.
He urged them to pay heed to providing locals with housing, capital, healthcare services, education and vocational training.
Additionally, resources should be mobilised to ramp up socio-economic infrastructure, he noted. — VNS