Policies on jobs, social welfare, labour safety and care for the underprivileged will be a priority this year, Labour Minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen told Thoi Bao Kinh Te (Vietnam Economic Times).

Q: This is the last year for implementing the socio-economic development plan for the 2011 to 2015 period. What is your solution for tackling the unresolved issues of last year?

A: The ministry will come up with practical measures for executing policies related to jobs, vocational training, social welfare, labour safety, poverty reduction and care for the underprivileged.

Unresolved cases of individuals, who have rendered great services to the nation, such as wounded soldiers and martyrs and their children, who have been affected by toxic chemicals, needs to be dealt with definitively.

The ministry will also research a new standard for poverty and include gender equality, protection, care and education of children in the socio economic development plan.

Q: A new standard for poverty will be put into practice this year. Is this a breakthrough solution for achieving the plan for sustainable poverty reduction?

A: During recent years, poverty assessment has been based solely on income levels. Actually, I think that is not appropriate. The new standard of poverty identify those who are not able to afford even the most basic life needs or receive the most basic social services. Therefore, applying the new standard for determining poverty levels will help overcome the disadvantages of the old one, and simultaneously help resolve the practical demands of the poor.

The new poverty standard will be implemented for the 2016 - 2020 period. This new policy will help alleviate poverty.

This will also offer an overall solution for achieving sustainable poverty reduction.

Q: What has the ministry done for ensuring a happy lunar New Year holiday for every labourer?

A: The ministry gives top priority to ensuring that everyone is well-fed and happy during Tet or the Lunar New Year holiday.

In particular, the ministry has directed enterprises and companies to ensure full payment of salaries, bonuses, and implement social welfare policies for workers during the Lunar New Year of 2015.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have also set up essential goods stores in industrial parks to meet the demands of employees. In particular, the People's Committee of HCM City and unions are maintaining and developing a fund to support poor workers with fares and gifts during the Lunar New Year holiday.-VNA