Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Đào Ngọc Dung speaks before the National Assembly Standing Committee in Hà Nội yesterday.— VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức
HÀ NỘI — National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân has emphasised the necessity to improve, facilitate and preserve cultural and spiritual life of ethnic minority people alongside attention to social and economic development.
She made the request while speaking at the ongoing 37th session of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee in Hà Nội yesterday, where the deputies listened to the brief report and discussed the implementation of policies and laws focusing on national targets of sustainable poverty reduction in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the period 2012-18.
Commenting on the results of the implementation of the hunger elimination and poverty reduction goals, Ngân said thanks to the policies, the infrastructure to serve the people had been significantly improved, thereby improving people's lives.
Ngân suggested that ministries and agencies should focus on supporting policies to help people of 10 ethnic minority groups with the highest poverty rates get out of poverty and have stable lives.
Chairman of the NA’s Ethnic Council, Hà Ngọc Chiến, said that policies on investment in socio-economic development and poverty reduction had created a clear change in infrastructure with about 25,000 works invested in and built in underprivileged communes and villages, ethnic minority and mountainous areas.
According to the council’s report, most of the communes have had concrete roads to the centres, 88 per cent of villages have motorised roads and 42 per cent of villages have standard roads. Up to 99 per cent of commune centres and 80 per cent of villages have had electricity, 65 per cent of communes have small irrigation systems to meet production and living requirements. Up to 76 per cent of communes meet national criteria for health.
“The rate of poor households, especially ethnic minority households, decreases by an average of 3.5 per cent a year,” Chiến said.
By the end of 2018, more than 1.4 million people of ethnic minorities benefited from loan programmes at the Bank for Social Policies with the total funds of VNĐ46.1 trillion (over US$2 billion).
However, the report shows some shortcomings in the implementation of the Government’s policies including the proportion of ethnic minority households falling back into poverty, generating poverty and near-poor households was high, the average income per capita per year of poor ethnic minority households was lower than the national level. People still faced many difficulties and had unstable livelihoods.
It cited unfavourable natural conditions, small area of arable land, poor transportation, severe weather, and divided terrain as reasons for the shortcomings.
“The consequences of climate change, drought, natural disasters, floods and saltwater intrusion have greatly affected the results of poverty reduction, which is a reason for relapse into poverty and a rise in poverty among ethnic minority and mountainous areas,” said Chiến, adding that some places still maintained backward customs, practices, funerals, filial piety, which cost people money, limited education level and caused a lack of business knowledge, jobs and production capital.
NA deputy chairman Phùng Quốc Hiển said that ethnic minority people were very interested in forest protection policies, but the allowance for this activity of only VNĐ400,000 ($17) per hectare a year was too little, unable to attract and ensure the minimum living standards for people.
Regarding the situation of poverty relapse and illiteracy, Hiển said that the rate was still quite high and different from other regions.
Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Đào Ngọc Dung admitted that the quality of life and human development coefficients of ethnic minorities were still low, and the gap in income rates among regions was still high. He said his ministry would issue an action plan to overcome limitations and weaknesses to have the best solutions, gradually improving the lives of the people.
Earlier yesterday, the NA Standing Committee discussed and gave opinions on the revision of the 2005 Youth Law.
NA Chairwoman Ngân commented that many policies in the revised law project were still general and overlapped with other fields. She asked the drafting board to abide by the provisions of the Constitution and relevant laws.
“The issues of rights and obligations of the youth are quite well defined in specialised laws, so when approaching the rights of young people, it is necessary to avoid overlaps,” she said. — VNS