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HCM City adopts poverty measures

Update: December, 17/2015 - 09:00
Deputy Minister Pham Trong Dat delivering the opening speech at a convention on poverty and social service improvement with the United Nations in HCM City yesterday. — Photo
HCM CITY— The HCM City People's Council has recently approved adoption of a multi-dimensional poverty measure in the city's 2016-20 poverty reduction programme.

It measures, besides income, also deprivation in terms of five basic needs — education, health care, employment and social insurance, living conditions, and access to information.

Nguyen Van Xe, deputy head of the city Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and deputy head of the Steering Committee for Poverty Reduction, told a three-day workshop on multi-dimensional poverty and improving service delivery that opened on Tuesday that the city tested the new measurement in Districts 6, 11, Tan Phu, and Binh Chanh.

It is now working on providing basic services to poor people around the city — after the new system is expanded next year to the rest of the city and the poverty rate is measured — to improve the quality of life and ensure sustainable poverty reduction.

It is developing comprehensive policies targeted at priority groups of MDP poor and near poor including migrants.

Following the test of the new poverty measure in the four districts and research done by the city in co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme, it has been affirmed that the number of targeted policies can be increased when using the new measure.

This does not even necessarily require more funds, it was discovered.

In the four districts it was found that the reasons for deprivation in terms of the five criteria were not simply a lack of money. For instance, many children were not attending school because their families did not care about education. In another case, people who did not have health insurance were simply not interested in it.

Thus, in cases like these, the relevant intervention should not be cash transfers but advocacy and encouragement, measures that should not involve a significant expense.

The current poverty rate using the old measure is 0.5 per cent, with the income threshold being VND16 million (US$710) per person per year.

Those with an income of VND16-21 million are defined as near poor.

Increasing use

The whole country will adopt the MDP measure and approach starting with the 2016-20 poverty reduction programme.

In the Asia Pacific region, eight countries including Viet Nam are members of the Multidimensional Poverty Practice Network.

At the workshop, other countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan are sharing their experiences in using MDP to measure and address various dimensions of poverty and improving institutional frameworks and co-ordination mechanisms.

Pakistan established a multi-dimensional poverty index at the national and provincial level in 2014. Local governments are increasingly responsible for public infrastructure development, primary education, basic health, family health, and social welfare.

An MDP approach can help governments at the local level to understand the dynamics of poverty and support planning.

Globally, 30 countries use MDP for poverty measurement, monitoring, as well as targeting and designing of poverty reduction and other social policies. — VNS

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