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Taking a Self-reliance Approach to Addressing the Issue of Welfare-Based Minimum Living Allowances



By Wang Weijin, DRC


The minimum living allowances is an important social assistance system in China. However, in recent years, the system has revealed a welfare-based development tendency.

First, some expressions relating to welfare-based development tendency are as follows. 1. Compared with some countries and regions in East Asia, China’s low-income population accounts for a significantly higher proportion of the entire population. 2. The living standards of those who receive minimum living allowances are much higher than that of those marginalized recipients with minimum living allowances. 3. In some places, minimum living allowances are provided on an equal basis or in a malpractice manner.

Second, the welfare-based provision of minimum living allowances has brought about many adverse consequences. For instance, the excessive number of beneficiaries has greatly limited the improvement of the scope for coverage. People with labor capacity take up a large proportion of beneficiaries. The time for one to apply for receiving minimum living allowances takes a too long period. Equal-oriented provision and malpractice relating to minimum living allowances have led to more contradictions between cadres and the masses.

With regard to the above-mentioned issues, the government needs to emphasize self-reliance and improve the system and ensure there is a cushion in place for those most in need. The government needs to encourage people to earn a living through labor and strictly forbid the unemployed with labor capacity to receive minimum living allowances. These people can be covered by the project of poverty alleviation or employment assistance. Family members need to shoulder their responsibilities to look after the elderly, and those old people with children may not be taken as beneficiaries to receive minimum living allowances. Self-reliance should be advocated, and those families with large assets should not be allowed to apply for minimum living allowances. Subsistence allowance policies should help the poor whose income is lower than one third of the average income. It is believed that these measures are helpful for improving the coverage by the minimum living allowances.

Information disclosure should be strengthened to prevent the abuse of the minimum living allowances. 1. The integration of information verification departments needs to be enhanced. 2. The government needs to broaden the open channels and establish a query and monitoring site on the performance of minimum living allowances. 3. The government needs to utilize big data to purchase services for the dynamic management of the beneficiaries receiving minimum living allowances. 4. It is advisable for the government not to use minimum living allowances as a tool to keep social stability.


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