China on last lap in fight against poverty, to wipe it out by 2020

The country’s national bureau of statistics (NBS) says China lifted more than 740 million people in rural areas out of extreme poverty between 1978 and 2017 or about 19 million people a year.
The State Council is China’s cabinet, headed be Premier Li Keqiang.(AP PHOTO.)
The State Council is China’s cabinet, headed be Premier Li Keqiang.(AP PHOTO.)
Updated on Oct 20, 2019 06:30 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Beijing | BySutirtho Patranobis

China will wipe out extreme poverty by the year 2020, a senior Chinese official has said indicating that the country will be able to do so a decade earlier than the deadline set by the UN in its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development comprising 17 sustainable development goals or SDG.

“Over 90 percent of China’s poor counties will be removed from the poverty list by the end of this year itself, said Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office on Poverty Alleviation and Development earlier this month.

State Council is China’s cabinet, headed be Premier Li Keqiang.

Official data, quoted by state-run Xinhua news agency showed this week that per capita disposable income of rural Chinese residents living in poverty-stricken areas was 10,371 yuan (1,460 U.S. dollars) by 2018, equivalent to 71 percent of that for urban residents.

“From 2012 to 2018, 82.39 million people had left poverty behind. In 2018 alone, 13.86 million people were no longer impoverished,” a government policy paper on China’s food security released by the State Council showed this week.

The numbers in China’s sustained battle against poverty are staggering.

The country’s national bureau of statistics (NBS) says China lifted more than 740 million people in rural areas out of extreme poverty between 1978 and 2017 or about 19 million people a year.

Beijing says it devised its own ways and means to fight poverty through the decades but one priority was to ensure that the country became self-sufficient in food for its billion people.

Official data from the blue book on food security in China showed that between 1949 and 2018, China’s annual total grain output rose nearly five times from 113 million tonnes to 658 million, while per capita output more than doubled to 472 kg.

Between 2013 and 2018, China has lifted 82.39 million rural poor residents out of poverty, with an annual average of 13.73 million people casting off poverty, more than the entire population of Greece.

The country still had 16.6 million rural people living below the national poverty line at the end of 2018, with more than half of them living in the country’s less-developed western region.

Besides focusing on food security, the government also prioritised health and education in its efforts to eradicate poverty with “…measures such as maternal nutrition intervention, meal allowances, better dormitory and tuitions waivers for rural schools, and aligning their teaching standards with the urban ones”.

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