Nation provides for social security

The nation's social security system will provide conditional and non-conditional social aid, credit assistance, education and job training for millions of people despite the global economic crisis.
The nation's social security system will provide conditional and non-conditional social aid, credit assistance, education and job training for millions of people despite the global economic crisis, Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said on April 20 in an online Q&A.

Ngan affirmed that never before had the country approved so many social security policies and programmes, in which 62 of the poorest districts making up 50 per cent of the total poor population - had received pointed focus.

Ngan said that this aimed at shrinking the gap between the rich and poor among regions in the country because the Cuu Long (Mekong) and the Red (Hong) River deltas had low poverty rates, while the northern mountainous areas and Central Highlands were suffering from high poverty rates.

More than 2.4 million people received support for their production, employment and income generation via offering them forest lands to grow timber trees, guiding them to restructure their farms and sending them to work overseas.

Many localities have adopted combined measures to help lift the most needy families out of poverty. Building new houses to replace dilapidated ones was one of the measures introduced.

Nguyen Minh Thang, a resident in northern Yen Bai province, wondered how it could be ensured that the most needy people enjoyed the benefits of these social security projects.

Ngan said that all poor people nationwide would receive support from the Government; however, local authorities responsible for reporting the number of poor households had not obeyed the legal procedures, leading to some miscalculations.

When the new poverty line was introduced next year, local relevant authorities would get more training to make proper reports on poor people to avoid problems. If anyone intentionally put down misleading information, they would be strictly punished, she added.

Ngan said that the existing poverty line 200,000 VND (10.5 USD) per person per month in the countryside and 260,000 VND (13.6 USD) for those living in urban areas - which had been applied for five years, was unsuitable with the current situation. Because of this, many people in need were technically not eligible.

Ngan said that the new poverty line would be approached in a multi-dimensional way so that more people in need of help would be the targets of the country's social security system.

People should know about this new poverty line to take advantage of their rights. Legal support for poor people should also become more focused, said Ngan.
Nguyen Huy Hoang, a resident in Ha Noi, wondered which people would receive non-conditional social aid.

Nguyen Xuan Lap, deputy head of the ministry's Social Welfare Department, said that currently more than 1.3 million people, including orphans, elderly without family and those over 80 without a pension, the disabled, HIV-positive people who could not work, families with more than two disabled members and single-parent families under the poverty line would be eligible for monthly non-conditional social aid.

Ngan said that coupled with this financial aid, these people could also get other support, such as free health insurance.

Many expressed worry over the increasing number of unemployed people and increases in labour accidents.

Minister Ngan said that there were more than 133,000 unemployed people last year, which was higher than in previous years, but even with this more than 1.6 million jobs had been created. The unemployment rate was understandable in the global economic crisis.

Ngan said that it was necessary to raise the capabilities of labourers to meet employers' demands and minimise labour accidents, because currently only 30 percent of labourers had proper qualifications and experience.

Nghiem Trong Tuan, General Deputy Director of the ministry's General Vocational Training Department, said that to improve the quality of vocational training schools, the Government had approved a five-year project worth 5.5 trillion VND (289 million USD) that was aimed at applying modern teaching and studying methods, reforming training programmes and improving teacher quality.

Tuan said that the vocational training schools that had yet to meet the criteria for teaching and studying activities would surely be shut down.

Nguyen Thi Hai Van, deputy head of the ministry's Labour and Employment Department, said that a fund for creating jobs worth 4 trillion VND (210 million USD) had been set up to help create jobs.

The processing and trading units and households who were the targets of the fund could borrow up to 500 million VND s(26,000 USD) for each project. Each year, this fund created up to 300,000 jobs, said Van./.

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