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People only want to be certified as ‘poor households’ because they are given houses, free hospital coverage and do not have to pay power charges, said deputy Nguyen Ngoc Phuong at the National Assembly (NA) yesterday, June 5.
In the morning of June 5, the NA discussed the implementation of the policy and law on public investment in agriculture, farmers and the rural area. After five years, public investment in these sectors is assessed to ‘attain achievement, contributing to change the face of the countryside towards modernization and poverty reduction.”
However, the National Assembly Standing Committee’s report and NA deputies also pointed out a lot of weaknesses of this policy.
One of the important criteria of public investment in agriculture and rural development that attracted the interest of deputies is poverty reduction task.
In 2011, the ratio of poor households in the countryside was 9.45 percent, a fall of 12 percent compared to 2006. The poor have had better approach to policies and assistance of the state and the community. Essential demands have been basically satisfied, such as housing, clean water, medical examination and studies.
However, Chairman of the NA Committee for Economic Affairs, Mr. Nguyen Van Giau, said that this task is unsustainable and the threat of poverty and becoming poor again is high.
Giau said that many provinces have high rates of poor households, especially northern mountainous provinces. In these localities, over 30 to nearly 50 percent of families are rated as poor. In addition, the gap of income and living standards between the urban and the rural areas is widening, which is 20-30 times.
Deputy Bui Manh Hung said that some localities do not want to be recognized as overcoming the threshold of poverty.
“It sounds weird but it is the truth, because they are actually poor and the people do not want to make an unreal achievement,” Hung added.
Hung also said that some locations set their own poverty thresholds, which are higher than the national standards, resulting in inequality in implementing the state’s policies.
Deputy Nguyen Ngoc Phuong mentioned the fact that many people only want to be certified as poor people and they do not try to escape poverty. Phuong explained that poor people who do not have houses are granted houses. If they do not have sufficient food, they are supplied with food. If they are sick, they do not have to pay hospital fees and they do not have to pay power charges.
Phuong cited an example in the central province of Quang Binh, where households that are rated as being close to the poverty threshold have to turn off electric lights to save on electricity while those that are rated as poor do not.
“Therefore, being rated as poor households is very attractive so that even some hamlet and commune officials also ask for the poverty certificate,” deputy Phuong said.
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