International

Poverty level raised to include 100 million Chinese

A farmer arranges harvested paddy in a field in Dawei Township of Lingchuan County, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, recently. Photo: Xinhua

A farmer arranges harvested paddy in a field in Dawei Township of Lingchuan County, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, recently. Photo: Xinhua   | Photo Credit: Wang Zhongkang

China has said it will almost double its definition of the poverty threshold to enable an additional 100 million people to access social subsidies, a move that comes as the government looks to address a fast-widening income gap.

The government said this week it would raise the poverty threshold to 2,300 yuan ($362 or Rs.18,630) as the annual income for farmers — an 80-per cent increase from the 1,274 yuan defined last year. This brings China's poverty line to a little under a dollar a day, and closer to the $1.25 level defined by the World Bank.

Under the earlier definition, China said it had 26.88 million rural poor, a fall of over 70 million during the past decade.

The move to widen the definition — and the segment of the population entitled to a number of subsidies — to 128 million people, or 13.4 per cent of the population, was announced following a national meeting on poverty alleviation held on Tuesday.

At the meeting, President Hu Jintao said China had made “extraordinary achievements” in reducing poverty but now faced a number of new challenges, including the environment and the widening wealth gap.

To bridge the divide, a new social insurance programme will be put in place in rural areas and social security funding will be boosted, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was reported as saying on Wednesday by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

China spent $ 35 billion on poverty reduction last year, said Xinhua, taking net spending on poverty alleviation over the past decade to more than $200 billion.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:48:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/poverty-level-raised-to-include-100-million-chinese/article2675384.ece

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