The Party and State’s ethnic policies have come to life in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai , helping improve the living standards of residents, especially those from ethnic minority inhabited areas.

Automobile-accessible roads now run through all communes and more than 80 percent of local households are connected to the national electricity grid. All communes have at least one school and a medical station.

This is the result of the Government’s programme 135 on building infrastructure, with nearly 1.5 trillion VND (over 75 million USD) having been spent so far on schools, roads, irrigation and water supply systems.

Meanwhile, under Programmes 132 and 134, nearly 12,000 households have been allocated farming land and 227 families given housing land. More than 26,000 poor ethnic minority households were provided with preferential loans worth a total 157 billion VND (8.8 million USD) to develop cultivation and animal breeding.

Gia Lai has a population of more than 1.36 million, including over 600,000 ethnic minority people, mainly of Bahnar and J’rai groups.

At a recent meeting with the Central Steering Committee for the Central Highlands, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Minh Tam said it is important to increase loans to household living under or near the poverty line and at the same time open more vocational courses for young people in rural areas.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director of the local Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Thanh Binh said it is necessary to reform the implementation of supporting policies for the poor, saying that some measures, such as the distribution of free essential goods including rice, salt and kerosene, may discourage the beneficiaries’ self-help spirit.

Vietnam now has 130 policies targeting ethnic communities, according to the Committee for Ethnic Affairs.-VNA