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Tibetan Herders' Income Set to Increase
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The government will continue to offer assistance to southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region and help its herders and farmers raise their income by 80 percent over the 2005 level in the next four years.

It is hoped that by 2010, Tibetan herders and farmers will have a per capita net annual income of 3,820 yuan (US$477.5), near the national average for farmers, said sources attending a meeting this week of officials who are working in Tibet to boost its development.

Last year, farmers and herders posted a per capita net annual income of 2,078 yuan (US$260), about 63.8 percent of the national average. More than 370,000 Tibetans were making less than 1,300 yuan (US$162.5) a year, or US$0.44 a day.

In the coming four years, the central government will continue to finance Tibet's farming and stock raising industries, help redundant farmers secure non-agricultural jobs and improve medical, housing and overall living conditions for the locals, said Wang Ercheng, an official with the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Farmers and herders make up 80 percent of Tibet's population, said Zhang Qingli, a top official in Tibet. "The most pressing need in Tibet's development is to improve the working and living conditions of local farmers and herders and increase their income."

He said the autonomous region will step up infrastructure construction in the coming four years and develop the education, health and cultural sectors.

By 2010, Zhang said Tibet is expected to post 15,100 yuan (US$1,887.5) of per capita GDP, compared with 9,098 yuan (US$1,137) reported in 2005.

The central government has provided at least 6.2 billion yuan (US$775 million) of assistance to Tibet in the past decade. Nearly 3,000 government officials and business executives from leading state-owned firms have rotated to work in Tibet for a minimum of one year, according to the organization department.

(Xinhua News Agency December 5, 2006)

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