Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Environment, a criterion in the national target programme on new countryside development, remains a major challenge facing localities nationwide, to fully realise the Government’s initiative, which is meant to boost rural regions.

It is among the shortcomings arising from the implementation of the programme between 2010 and 2015, the supervisory delegation of the National Assembly Standing Committee said at a working session on April 13.

The programme, launched in 2010, set out 19 criteria for a new-style rural area covering infrastructure, production, living standards, income, culture and others.

The supervisory delegation pointed out the gap in the implementation outcomes among regions. Up to 46.4 percent and 42.8 percent of the communes in the Southeast and the Red River Delta have successfully realised all the criteria, respectively.

Meanwhile, the rates are much lower in the northern mountainous region (8.2 percent), the Central Highlands (13.2 percent), and the Mekong Delta (16.7 percent).

The localities have focused too much on upgrading infrastructure while neglecting the development of profitable production models.

Some of them have just simply raced to obtain as many criteria as possible without due attention to the work’s quality. Others are unable to pay off debts borrowed to build infrastructure, the supervisory delegation said.

Summarising the outcomes, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said the programme has attracted residents to the new countryside development efforts.

As of March 2016, 1,761 communes or 19.7 percent of all communes across Vietnam had obtained the new-style rural area status.

Rural per capita income now averages 24.4 million VND (over 1,090 USD) per annum, about 1.9 times higher than that in 2010. It is partly attributable to the expansion of cash crop production, he said.

While the strongly developed infrastructure network has given a facelift to many areas, the material and spiritual life of rural residents has been improved, he added.-VNA