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Ethnic poverty plan falls short of initial target

Update: February, 13/2014 - 08:26
Tran Thi Nga, from Thai Nguyen Province's Pho Yen District, picks tea she grew using a loan from the provincial Social Policy Bank. Thousands of poor ethnic minorities are still living in poverty and lack access to land and basic necessities, despite efforts to improve living standards. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

HA NOI (VNS)— Despite years of poverty reduction efforts, more than 320 thousand households of poor ethnic minorities were still looking for land to live and farm on.

The figures were announced by the Committee for Ethnic Minorities (CEM) at a meeting with the Monitoring Group of the National Assembly Office on Tuesday.

The Committee's report for 2005-12 also showed that more than 274 thousand ethnic households were in need of clean water for everyday life.

While outlining the progress of a VND7.9 trillion (US$380 million) project to provide farm land, houses and clean water for poor ethnic minority households, the report pointed out that over the past four years, the central bank has distributed only VND1 trillion ($50.5 million) of the funding.

Another project that has failed to achieve its targets is a plan to support the resettlement of ethnic minorities, many of whom still lead traditional nomadic lives.

Since 2008, a total of VND1.6 trillion ($77.8 million) has been spent on the project, but only 13 thousand households have been resettled, achieving just 43 per cent of the project's target.

According to Ha Hung, CEM's vice chairman, resource allocation together with an unrealistic view of socio-economic development had dragged down the effectiveness of the projects.

"The total budget for ethnic policies in 2014 is only 33 per cent of the approved plan. We want the National Assembly to provide the planned funding and create an extra budget to support projects and development in mountainous ethnic-populated regions," Hung said.

Policies to promote socio-economic development and poverty reduction have already changed the society. In seven years, the national poverty rate has declined from 20 per cent in 2006 to 9.6 per cent in 2012. — VNS

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