The Government’s Programme 135, aimed at the socio-economic development of extremely-poor mountainous and remote communes, has reduced the number of poverty-stricken households by 40 percent since 1998.
The figure has fallen from 60 to 20 percent and the number of poor households has been reduced by an average of between 4 and 5 percent each year, thereby meeting the programme’s targets.
The programme has been implemented in 2,410 communes of 330 districts in 52 provinces and has been praised by other countries and international organisations recognising the Vietnam Communist Party and State’s poverty reduction policies.
The results can be seen in material and spiritual movements for each family and village.
The changes are especially visible in the provision of infrastructure, including electricity, roads, schools and medical clinics.
A total of 20,311 projects have been initiated, resulting in the building of 6,658 roads and bridges and 97 percent of extremely poor communes are now accessible by motor vehicle.
In addition, about 64 percent of highland households now have access to electricity, leading to increased labour capacity and the attendant development of small industries and handicraft production.
More than 5,000 schools and classrooms have been opened leading to 90 percent of minority children now attending.
As many as 96 percent of highland residents undergo medical checks in 390 hospitals and clinics.
Almost 300 irrigation projects have been completed in the process of resettling residents, especially in border areas.
Seventy percent of households now have access to clean water through the building of 2,574 supply systems.
Almost 11,200ha of land have been reclaimed, providing almost 32,000 households with farms and residences.
Average per capita amount of food available has increased from 280kg in 1998 to 320kg last year and in some communes has reached 500kg.
Many communes are still dependent on the subsidised economy; and infrastructure still fails to meet the demands of development because much of the construction in the past was small scale and unsynchronised and did not lead to sustainable development.
Almost 90 communes still do not have roads leading to their centre, 550 communes do not have access to the national electricity network and 290 communes do not have medical clinics.
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs reported that more than 60 percent of households in the northwest were poor, as measured by the new standards adopted by Vietnam in July. In Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) the figure stands at 50 percent.
The Party’s Central Committee has declared that there should be no hungry households in minority and highlands communities and that the number of poor households should be reduced to less than 10 percent by 2010.
It also declared that more than 90 percent of households should have sufficient electricity and water and that all communes should have roads to their centre, while spontaneous migration should be stopped.
A new policy, and a properly administered investment programme with more capital would be needed for these targets to be met, the council chairman warned.
The tasks and goals for Programme 135 are supposed to end this year, and the National Assembly has asked the Nationalities Council to supervise the results.
Programme 135 had two stages: from 1998 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2005.
Vietnamnews - (24/10/2005)