Hanoi will invest around 4.6 trillion VND (220 million USD) to cut the city's poverty rate to less than 2 percent by the end of 2015 from the current 9.6 percent.

The poverty reduction plan during 2011-15 was signed by the municipal People's Committee Deputy Chairman Hoang Manh Hien two weeks ago.

Under the plan, the city intends to bring the rate of poverty among households by 1.5-1.8 percent per year and minimise the number of families falling back into poverty.

By 2015, the plan will have eliminated poor communes, where poor households account for a minimum of 25 percent of the population.

The city will adopt various measures to fulfil these tasks, according to Hien.

The city will offer local residents more soft loans, with priority given to districts or communes with 15 percent of their population living below the poverty line.

It is estimated that between 75,000-85,000 poor households annually will be given loans for doing business, joining vocational training classes or becoming guest workers abroad.

Residents would also be able to access loans for buying a herd of 1,000 cattle.

Hien also said short-term annual vocational training courses will be organised for around 2,300 poor people especially those from rural, ethnic minority families and the disabled.

Between 80-100 thousand households will be helped in applying advanced techniques for farming or aqua-culture.

The city also plans to provide free health insurance cards for all poor people, elderly people aged over 90, poor blind and patients with leprosy.

Those who are categorised as living near poverty line will also receive a subsidy of 50 percent to buy health insurance.

The city also wants to mobilise more funding from various sources to improve housing conditions.

According to statistics of the Hanoi People's Committee, the city currently has more than 148,000 poor households and nearly 61,500 households living just above the poverty line, out of its 6.5 million population.

A lack of capital for trading and production; land, and unemployment are described as being the largest contributory factor to household poverty.

According to the new poverty standard promulgated last month by the municipal People's Committee, poor households are those with average incomes of less than 750,000 VND (38 USD) per person per month in urban areas and 550,000 VND (28 USD) in rural areas. /.