A conference has been held in the northern province of Thai Nguyen to discuss policies helping ethnic groups improve their living standards.

The locality is home to seven ethnic minority groups, residing in 1,985 hamlets with over 660,000 people, and making up nearly 60 percent of the total provincial population, the function on April 18 heard.

Work has already done to improve the lives of local people. As a result of the 2012-2015 ethnic development work, the ratio of poor households was reduced to 15.9 percent in 2013 from 27 percent in 2011, while 80 percent of the population gained access to clean water and 62 percent of schools met the national standards.

Local authorities have prioritised investment to building infrastructure and supporting production for poverty-stricken Mong families. Twenty out of the 47 hamlets where Mong people live see over 40 percent of households living under the poverty line.

Participants cited lack of education in these areas for low living standards and said inefficient poverty-reduction work there was responsible for the high proportion of poor households.

Local authorities plan to build 18 agriculture and forestry models worth 555 million VND (26,085 USD) at 12 poor Mong-inhabited areas in Dong Hy, Phu Luong, Vo Nhai, and Dinh Hoa districts.

Relevant agencies were asked to increase the number of officers involved in ethnic development work to help the beneficiaries during the realisation of ethnic policies in the coming time.-VNA