China has set five goals for improving the fledging social security system in the near future, Minister of Labor and Social Security Zhang Zuoji said in Beijing Sunday.
He told an international forum sponsored by the Development Research Center of the State Council, the think tank of the central government, that the first task is to establish stable financing channels in the social security system.
Speaking at the China Development Forum on Social Security Reform, he said that the second task is to set up a nation-wide unemployment insurance scheme to secure the basic living of laid off workers. China has now more than 6.7 million laid-off workers from state owned enterprises. So far, 90 percent of them have secured basic living and more than 12 million laid-off workers have found new jobs with the help of the government in the past two years. Meanwhile, nearly 129 million jobholders have bought basic retirement insurance and 100 million have purchased unemployment insurance.
The third task is to further standardize the basic living guarantee system of urban citizens. He noted that China now is expanding the scope of this minimum living benefits to all low-income earners, the unemployed and retirees who are below the threshold of average household incomes. The central treasury allocated over 10 billion yuan for this in 1998 and the figure grew to 20 billion yuan last year.
According to Zhang, China will also accelerate medical insurance reform by putting 50 million people in 70 percent of localities in the country under the umbrella of the new medical insurance system this year.
The last task is to advance social security legislation. Zhang said that the country is accelerating the draft of Social Security Law and other relevant laws and regulations. He noted that China is trying to set up a framework of principal laws and regulations on social security in the next three years.