Q: How do you evaluate and feel about the changes in Lam Dong’s ethnic minority areas?
A: As the Standing Vice Chairman of the Provincial People’s Council, I have the opportunity to go to the grassroots and meet with local villagers. I was very happy as elders and prestigious people in villages said: “Lam Dong no longer has places which are truly isolated and remote.” Brief as it is, the statement has demonstrated the remarkable transformation in the previously disadvantaged areas of the province. The quality transport system has now covered all localities, with car roads having been developed to the centre of communes. Together with asphalted and concrete roads, all villages in Lam Dong have been connected to the national power grid, as well as healthcare, post and television services. In addition, each ethnic minority commune in the province has its own kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools, ensuring schooling opportunities for all school-age children.
Although life for some in ethnic minority communities still remains difficult, generally significant changes have now been recorded in once disadvantaged areas. Lam Dong currently has 104 out of 111 communes and three districts recognised as new-style rural areas. The many extremely difficult communes having met new rural standards is a miracle. The rate of poor households among Lam Dong’s ethnic minority communities has now declined to only 3.58% from 19.1% five years ago.
Q: What are the key factors attributing to such significant improvement?
A: The direction and support from central ministries and agencies, the efforts made by all-level Party committees and authorities, and the people’s consensus and awareness to rise above have helped to bring a new look to Lam Dong’s disadvantaged and ethnic minority areas. The people’s lives have increasingly improved. In particular, the people’s awareness to rise above and the appropriate measures of localities are considered the radical factors driving previously needy areas in the province towards rapid and sustainable development.
Today, ethnic minorities in Lam Dong are very interested in gaining new information and knowledge for economic development, integrating into the modern life but still preserving and promoting their traditional cultural identities. Notably, they always uphold the spirit of solidarity and mutual sharing in economic development and building an increasingly civilised life. In addition, in recent times, greater attention has been paid to supporting the development of ethnic minority areas, with a large number of projects and programmes having been implemented. In the last five years, the total investment in extremely difficult and ethnic minority areas in Lam Dong has reached more than VND3.7 trillion (US$160.7 million), with VND1.9 trillion directly sourced from the state budget and 115 projects with investment from non-state sources. The province has developed a rapid and sustainable poverty reduction project for 29 communes and 97 villages which have a poverty rate of over 30%, in order to better implement poverty reduction in disadvantaged localities.
Developing ethnic minority human resources is also an important “key” in the development process in Lam Dong’s needy and ethnic minority areas. The province currently has more than 4,000 Party members who are ethnic minority people, making up over 10% of the total Party members. Lam Dong’s Party committees and authorities at all levels have always given care to training, developing and appointing people from ethnic minorities as cadres and civil servants.
Thank you very much!