General Information on Natural Disaster Relief, Social Relief, Social Welfare and Preferential Treatment and Resettlement of Demobilized Servicemen in China
August 22, 2007Ministry of Civil Affairs
Ministry of Civil Affairs is responsible for social administration under the State Council and the main responsibilities are: social relief and social welfare, social affairs administration, basic level democracy building, services for the military forces and national defense. Civil affairs relate directly to the livelihood, rights and interests of the people, therefore, playing an important role in adjusting social interests, solving social problems, maintaining social stability and promoting the harmonious development of society.
First, work on natural disaster relief has been enhanced and proper arrangements have been made to guarantee the basic livelihood for the disaster-affected people. This year, China has suffered severe natural disasters. Up to now, 310 million people had been affected by natural disasters of various kinds, with the direct economic loss of RMB 126.4 billion. The Central Committee of CPC and the State Council have always attached importance to the disaster reduction and disaster relief. In accordance with the requirement of the State Council, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has been improving the emergency system for natural disasters, paying close attention to the news about disaster situation, launching National Pre-Plan for Natural Disaster Relief in line with disaster situation, allocating cash and kinds for disaster relief timely in negotiation with relevant departments and providing guidance on disaster relief.
Up to now, National Disaster Reduction Commission and Ministry of Civil Affairs have launched the emergency response system for 41 times, sending out 41 working teams to disaster-stricken areas and transferring 40,600 disaster relief tents to disaster-ravaged provinces to ensure that the evacuated people have got temporary shelters. The Standing Committee of the State Council made the decision on August 15 to further enhance the support from the central budget for disaster relief and the original fund of RMB 6.7 billion has therefore been increased to RMB 11.54 billion. Another decision has been made to raise the standard of subsidy for collapsed houses. Correspondingly, the subsidy for earthquake damaged houses has also been raised. What's more, the subsidy for evacuated people due to flood detention and discharge has been increased, so has the subsidy for disaster-affected people during spring and winter time.
Meanwhile, the State Council has also decided to raise and timely allocate funds of flood control and drought relief, increase programs for drought relief, add to disaster relief fund for agricultural production and increase funds for medical assistance in disaster relief. All these policies will serve to effectively help disaster victims out of their difficulties in life and ensure their basic livelihood.
Second, the social relief system has been established to guarantee the basic livelihood of people in difficulty in both urban and rural areas. The urban subsistence security system has got implemented in an all-round way, covering all that should be covered under the dynamic administration. Up to now, 22,361,500 urban residents from 10,410,000 households have been covered by the system. To ease the effects of price increase of food supplies such as pork on families with low income, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Finance have recently released a notice, requiring that appropriate measures should be taken to increase the subsidy standard for the basic cost of living and ensure that the monthly subsidy for subsistence security increase no less than RMB 15 for each person. This standard could be further increased in places with better financial conditions.
For the purpose of solving the food and clothing problem of rural residents in poverty in a steady, sustainable and effective way, the Central Committee of CPC and the State Council have decided to establish subsistence security system in rural areas in 2007, allocating RMB 3 billion from the central budget to regions with financial difficulties to develop the rural subsistence security system. By now, 23.115 million people from 10.746 million households have been covered by the system. Meanwhile, 3.553 million people from 1.466 million households have got assistance for rural families in extreme difficulties. In the area of the five guarantees provision, the financial sources has been transferred from rural collective to government budget and the provision standard has therefore been improved remarkably. Up to now, 5.067 million people have enjoyed the five guarantees provision nationwide.
Medical assistance in rural and urban areas has been actively promoted. Up to now, the rural medical assistance system has been established and implemented in all counties (cities, districts) with agricultural population across the country, while 2396 counties (cities, districts) have developed urban medical assistance, 83.7 percent of all the counties (cities, districts) of the country. In 2007, RMB 2.04 billion (RMB 1.32 billion for rural areas and RMB 720 million for urban areas) from the central budget and RMB 3.3 billion from local budgets of various levels have been allocated for urban and rural medical assistance, increased by 285 percent and 23 percent respectively over the year 2006. With the input for medical assistance on the rise, the assistance standard has been further improved.
Third, the mechanism for preferential treatment and resettlement has been improved constantly and the national defense and the army building have been strengthened. Before the Army Day of this year, along with other relevant departments, the Ministry of Civil Affairs had worked on and issued five documents, respectively aiming at increasing the subsidy standard for preferential treatment to eligible recipients, providing living subsidies for part of the army retired personnel who have taken part in combats and nuclear experiments, completing the medical security system for the preferential treatment recipients, and helping part of the ex-servicemen with reemployment, housing and social insurance connection (the policy that the years of military service can be counted into social insurance when servicemen retire from the military).
The Regulations for the Management of Preferential Treatment for the Injury has also been emended and issued, according to which the subsidy standard for preferential treatment recipients has been raised greatly. Based on the present standards, the preferential treatment pension for the handicapped servicemen has increased by 30 percent, the regular preferential treatment pension for the families of martyrs has gone up by 20 percent in urban areas and by 15 percent in rural areas, and the living subsidy standard for the senior ex-servicemen of the Red Army has increased by 20 percent. The subsidy standards for the varied preferential treatment recipients have reached or approached the average living standards of the local people. To ensure the implementation of these policies, 4.2 billion RMB yuan is to be allocated this year from the central fiscal budget to increase the funding for preferential treatment undertakings, so that the eligible recipients can benefit, together with other citizens, from the economic and social development of the country.
Fourth, the cause of social welfare is developing dramatically and elderly people, disabled people and orphans have received fine care and support. Over the past few years, the facilities in the varied social welfare institutions both in urban and rural areas have been constantly improved with more functions. Up to now, China had set up 39,553 various social institutions for the elderly, 249 independent children's welfare homes and 600 children departments affiliated to social welfare institutions, which have sheltered 1,338 million aged people and disabled people, and 72,000 orphans and abandoned infants.
For the next step, we will initiate and implement the “Blue Sky Scheme for the Construction of Children's Welfare Institutions”, under which a number of children's institutions will be built in the large and medium cities nationwide with multiple functions of nursing, education and rehabilitation. We will also launch and carry out the “Sunglow Scheme for the Construction of the Service Facilities for the Five Guarantees Dependents”. Under the scheme, a number of service institutions will be set up to accommodate the five guarantees dependents in rural areas, and the living conditions for the residential-based five guarantees dependents will be improved. In addition, we have initiated the plan to establish aid and protection facilities for the street minors, including the construction of new centers and renovation and expansion of old ones. Moreover, we will launch a plan to establish community service facilities nationwide, including 500 community service centers, about 3,400 community service stations and about 100 urban community service information networks. The construction of all these service facilities will largely promote the development of social welfare causes.