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Subsidy Promised for Urban Poor
Social-security and fiscal authorities at various levels are working together to ensure that all urban needy people have a minimum living subsidy, an official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs said yesterday.

The official, surnamed Yang, told China Daily: "To meet this goal on time, governments at various levels are busy taking specific measures."

The measures include door-to-door visits and the establishment of a special bank account by local governments to manage funds provided by the central government for the subsidy.

Yang, who is in charge of supervising the monthly subsidy in the ministry, said local fiscal departments have also been urged to join in the nationwide social-security campaign.

By the end of May, the central government had allocated 4.6 billion yuan (US$556 million) to a fallback fund for local governments to administer the subsidy.

Different provincial administrations calculate the amount of the subsidy, taking into account their specific financial situation.

Some 5.45 million urban dwellers in China whose average monthly income is below the official poverty line of 152 yuan (US$18.30) are not yet covered by the Basic Living Guarantee System, said Yang.

However, some 13.93 million out of the 19.38 million urban dwellers on the list to receive the basic living subsidy have already been paid the money.

Recent statistics from the social-security authorities showed that the average salary of an employee in the mainland's cities and towns reached 10,870 yuan (US$1,312) last year, an increase of 16 percent over the year before. The growth rate was 15.2 percent taking inflation into account.

The employment rate continued to rise last year and laid-off workers were guaranteed a basic living allowance. By the end of 2001, the unemployment rate had stabilized at 3.6 percent.

Rural and urban areas had registered a total of 73.025 million employees by the end of last year, an increase of 9.4 million over the previous year.

Cities and towns registered 23.940 million employees last year, a rise of 7.89 million over the year before.

(China Daily June 14, 2002)

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