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Effectiveness of poverty relief must be monitored

Updated: 2016-03-17 08:10
By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

Major General Chen Zhishu shared two alarming lessons when he highlighted the need to check the effectiveness of efforts in eradicating poverty.

"Otherwise, the ongoing campaign to relieve poverty will end up in vain," said the officer who was once part of the nationwide efforts.

Chen, former commander of the Gansu Provincial Military Command, is a son of Chen Geng, a founding general of the People's Liberation Army.

The PLA has long been part of the country's poverty relief missions, offering manpower, funding and other services.

Chen first noted a case in which several households in a remote area received assistance from the PLA.

"The households were truly impoverished, and the area's natural resources reserve was in poor condition. Breeding cattle was then decided as a solution for them," he said.

Effectiveness of poverty relief must be monitored

"The bulls and sheep were bought and sent to them, and training for breeding techniques and purchasing outlets were also considered. ... However, when the army staff returned six months later, all the cattle had been slaughtered for meals or sales," he added.

Chen reminded policymakers that the status of the residents who are helped is "often changing" when poverty relief efforts are being rolled out.

"The villagers may be out of poverty this year but potentially return to poor conditions next year. ... Life skills should be effectively nurtured among those helped to make them help themselves," he said.

According to the Government Work Report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on March 5, 10 million citizens will be lifted out of poverty this year, and 2 million among them will reach the goal through relocation.

In another case, the destination for the migrants turned out to be full of saline-alkali soil, which was not fit for cultivating crops.

"As a result, the villagers had a small harvest that year. Then the local government invested a lot in improving the soil, but there was still little hope of seeing a bumper harvest for a few years to come.

"The villagers were frustrated and then returned to their homelands," said Chen.

The natural capacity of the new destination hosting the migrants should also be taken into account, Chen said.

"If an area could host at most 30,000 residents, accommodating 50,000 will raise an issue on how to tackle the remaining 20,000. The consequences will be seen in water and other resources," he said.


(China Daily 03/17/2016 page6)

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