Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, Chairman of the National Steering Committee for New Rural Development, spoke with Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) about the rural development programme.
The country has a total of 144 communes that meet the new rural development criteria. The 19 criteria relate to master-planning, infrastructure, economic development and the organisation of production. What do you make about the target of 500-600 communes meeting the criteria by the end of 2014?
By the end of 2013 and after three years of implementation, the country had a total of 144 communes that met all the criteria of the new rural development program and 562 others that satisfied between 15-18 criteria.
The reality of the program's implementation showed that communes in the leading group could strive to achieve 3-4 criteria each year. I think the ability of the program staff has been strengthened remarkably.
Many localities have created change thanks to flexible and specific policies during the implementation process. In addition, the knowledge and role of farmers in this new phase of rural development has been significantly improved.
It is obvious that more criteria can be fulfilled if people actively participate in this new rural development.
Some experts have worried about incomplete building masterplans and basic infrastructure in many localities. What measures have been put forward by the committee to handle the situation?
The committee asked the ministry of finance to assist localities reviewing incomplete building masterplans or basic infrastructure. Based on the review, localities will allocate some of their local budget towards implementing new rural development masterplans. Localities facing difficulties doing this may apply for support from the State Budget.
The committee has also asked localities not to provide investment for construction projects without clear capital sources. The ministries of agriculture and rural development, investment and planning and finance have also been asked to help localities allocate and use State bond sources and avoid spreading investment.
In some localities, sources from private sector were abused in new rural development that caused burden to local peoples. What measure would the committee do to handle the situation?
The mechanism for mobilising capital for the new rural development programme encourages people to donate to the program in appropriate ways, instead of it being compulsory, allowing people to take part in discussions and the decisions made for the project's implementation.
Following reports in mainstream media about the abuse of people-based capital mobilisation programs in some localities, the committee has also asked them to address weaknesses.
The committee and relevant ministries also reviewed loan disbursement in localities. This year, we will also collaborate with provinces and cities to strengthen the knowledge of the private sector and the community on the program's targets. Locality administration leaders are also being encouraged to pursue the program's targets.
There is an opinion that a criteria should be added to the program, on assessing public satisfaction. What are your thoughts on this?
The Government's decision 372/QD-TTg regulated that localities have to announce criteria and levels for measuring criteria. Communes have to report results and collect opinions from the local Fatherland Front and its members. The process for measuring the program's results requires collecting people's opinions directly and indirectly through the local Fatherland Front and its members.
The Prime Minister also directed localities to motivate people to voluntarily participate in the new rural development program.
In future, the committee will continue to collaborate with ministries, sectors and localities in reviewing and correcting policies relating to the criteria to suit each region and specific conditions. —VNS