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Tibet to Subsidize 230,000 Low-income People
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More than 230,000 farmers and herdsmen in Tibet with an income of less than 800 yuan (US$100) a year will receive subsidies in 2007, according to local authorities.

The Finance Department of Tibet Autonomous Region will allocate 36.8 million yuan for subsidies this year, a government spokesman said.

The local government began offering subsidies -- a total of 9 million yuan -- to low-income people in 2005, benefiting 83,000 farmers and herdsmen who reported a yearly income below 300 yuan.

To extend the benefits of the policy to more people, the government raised the annual income threshold from 300 yuan to 500 yuan last year.

In 2006, the Finance Department provided 37 million yuan in subsidies to local people whose income was less than 500 yuan a year. A total of 200,000 people benefited from the move.

The government has decided to again raise the income barrier this year, from 500 yuan to 800 yuan, and it is expected that more than 230,000 people will get benefits, the spokesman said.

The annual income of farmers and herdsmen in Tibet posted 13.1 percent growth last year to reach 2,350 yuan -- the largest increase in a decade. However, there are still hundreds of thousands of people in Tibet who need assistance from government, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 15, 2007)

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