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Sunshine Project Benefits Redundant Rural Workers

About 460,000 of the 550,000 rural workers who got vocational training early this year have been employed in non-agricultural sectors, a report from the Ministry of Agriculture said Tuesday.


These beneficiaries cover only a tiny fraction of the 2.8 million redundant rural workers who will join a government-sponsored Sunshine Project this year aiming to help them get employed.


Initiated by the ministries of Agriculture, Finance, Labor and Social Security, Science and Technology, Education and Construction last year, the project has seen its budget grow from last year's 250 million yuan (US$30.23 million) to 400 million yuan (US$48.37 million).


Statistics from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security revealed that employment remains a thorny problem for most Chinese rural workers as only 10 percent of them have been trained so far.


Although some factories find it hard to get new hands, quite a number of untrained rural workers are incompetent and can not fit for those openings. Their job opportunities are basically limited to domestic affairs, security, newspaper selling and bicycle repair.


To remedy the situation, the central government called on relevant ministries to subsidize farmers who volunteer to receive vocational training and improve training quality by providing courses in line with market needs.


Violations and misuse of the funds, once ferreted out, will be seriously punished according to law, the central government warned.


(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2005)

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