Innovating organisation to effectively implement new policies

Wednesday, 2016-11-16 17:31:33
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Minister-Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Do Van Chien presents certificates of merit to outstanding ethnic minority students in 2016.
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NDO—The Government and Prime Minister have issued numerous important policies to support ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the 2016-2020 period, aiming to implement major policies to promote great national unity, investment for the comprehensive development of such areas, sustainable poverty reduction and measures to improve the material and spiritual lives of local people.

Member of the Party Central Committee (PCC) and Minister-Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Do Van Chien has granted Nhan Dan an interview on future policies relating to ethnic minority affairs.

Q: Currently, ethnic minorities and residents of mountainous regions are faced with numerous difficulties; however, it can be said that work relating to ethnic minority affairs and the implementation of policies supporting ethnic minority and mountainous areas have received special attention from ministries and agencies at all levels. Could you inform us of the results of the implementation of policies on ethnic minority affairs in the recent past?

A: Over the past five years, the ministries, branches of government, the entire political system and the whole of society have paid much attention to the implementation of policies for ethnic minority and mountainous areas, yielding important results. During the 2011-2015 period, the Government’s Programme 135, which aims to raise living standards in remote and mountainous areas, covered 3,059 villages in 2,331 communes in 415 districts and 52 provinces and centrally governed cities at a total cost of over VND15.67 trillion.

The programme supported more than 1.33 million households in developing their production capacity; built 21,189 infrastructure projects for transport, irrigation, electricity, schools and medical stations; repaired and upgraded 5,799 works of infrastructure; and opened 4,000 training courses on agriculture and forestry. By the end of this period, 80 communes and 372 villages experiencing difficulties accomplished targets laid out in Programme 135.

In addition, numerous policies on ethnic minority affairs have been successfully implemented, such as settled agricultural and settlement practices for 30,000 households; supporting production and residential lands for 12,000 households and supporting job changes for 7,000 households. The lives of residents of ethnic minority and mountainous areas have seen remarkable improvement and many locales have overcome especially difficult circumstances.

Q: At the discussion on the Plan for Economic Restructuring during the 2016-2020 Period at the fourteenth National Assembly’s ongoing second session, while reporting on issues relating to socioeconomic status and major policies on investment for comprehensive development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas, you mentioned the difficulties and shortcomings characterising these areas. Could you explain more about this?

A: Ethnic minority and mountainous regions have more than 13 million people, mainly living in areas facing especially difficult circumstances, including over 8 million in border areas. According to a survey on socioeconomic status in 53 ethnic minority groups, the rate of poor households in ethnic minority and mountainous areas is 23.1% (3.3 times higher than the average level of the country), including several groups with rates of over 75% and where the percentage of trained labourers over 15 years of age has only reached 6.2%.

In addition, more than 20% of ethnic minority people over 15 years of age cannot read and write common Vietnamese sentences; there are ten minorities with child marriage rates of over 45% and six where the percentage of marriages between people with blood relations is over 25%.

Obviously, the high poverty rate, less sustainable poverty reduction, natural disasters, epidemics, the lack of jobs, low income, the high percentage of children dropping out of school and outdated habits and customs are still are big challenges.

Q: Through reviewing and assessing the results of the implementation of policies towards ethnic minorities during the 2011-2015 period, the Committee for Ethnic Affairs has identified shortcomings and obstacles as bases for advising the Government and PM to develop policies for the 2016-2020 term. How will policies be adjusted to keep abreast with reality?

A: In this period, in order to ensure the success of the programme and achieved set targets , central agencies should step up efforts to mobilise all resources and innovate ways to implement policies with the aim of boosting decentralisation to provinces, cities, districts and communes in managing resources and taking responsibility for implementing specific projects. In addition, it is very necessary to enhance lending at preferential interest rates and conditional support, to promote the internal resources of the ethnic minority peoples in association with the State’s support and to actively overcome difficulties.

Accordingly, policies directly supporting households will be transferred to supporting communities to create livelihoods for them. The households will be lent money for production at preferential interest rates instead of receiving without giving back, and will be supported on condition instead of being provided with long-term support. The elderly, those incapable of engaging in labour, homeless people and people with disabilities will benefit from social policies.

On the other hand, it is essential to strengthen the participation and supervision of local people in the implementation of policies relating to ethnic minority affairs and to give priority to investment in practical projects, immediately meeting the demands of production and the livelihoods of the people.

Q: So far, many important policies have been announced to develop ethnic minority and mountainous regions for the 2016-2020 period. Could you talk about major policies?

A: Major policies may be divided into two groups, namely general and specific policies. General policies include the national target programme on building new-style rural areas, which includes the allocation of resources to areas facing special difficulties; the national target programme on sustainable poverty reduction, in which ethnic minorities and mountainous areas will benefit from Project 30a on supporting investment for socioeconomic development in poor districts (with a total investment of VND18.745 trillion) and Programme 135 (consisting of three phases) with a total capital of nearly VND16 trillion.

The PM also issued several specific policies, including one supporting socioeconomic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas for the 2016-2020 period (under the Decision 2085/QĐ-TTg, which was released on October 31); the VND1.8 trillion project facilitating socioeconomic development among ethnic minorities with low populations for the 2016-2025 period (under Decision 2086/QĐ-TTg of October 31), which will be implemented in 194 hamlets and villages where ethnic minority groups of low population density live in 93 communes of 37 districts in twelve provinces; and the policy for students and schools in villages and communes faced with special difficulties, focusing on covering the expenses for students’ meals and rent.

In addition to the above policies, the Government has issued a policy on the protection and development of forests in association with policies on rapid and sustainable poverty reduction and supporting ethnic minorities during the 2015-2020 period. Numerous other policies have been agreed upon by ministries and branches of government and will be submitted to the Government in the future.

Q: Along with the revision of policies and mechanisms for their implementation, it is necessary to comprehensively innovate ethnic minority work. Which measures and missions will relevant agencies focus on implementing?

A: In order to successfully implement the Resolution of the Twelfth National Party Congress, ethnic minority work should be renovated and implemented synchronously and comprehensively, particularly enhancing education to improve the quality of human resources in ethnic minority and mountainous areas, meeting the requirements of the country’s industrialisation and modernisation.

It is essential to strengthen education and communication and the rule of law in such areas, particularly those faced with difficult socioeconomic conditions, as well as to develop, popularise and replicate effective production and business models. The relevant agencies should pay close attention to promoting the role of outstanding and respected people among ethnic minority communities who play an important role in building and consolidating the bloc of great national unity, eliminating hunger, reducing poverty and building new-style rural areas.

The task of comprehensively training and improving the skills of functionaries at the grassroots level of the political system, particularly increasing the number of Party members belonging to ethnic minority groups, should be strengthened in the future. Ministries, branches of government and local administrations need to attach great importance to diversifying their methods of implementing policies and focusing on promoting the internal resources of ethnic minority groups to help them move out of poverty towards sustainable wealth creation.