POVERTY ALLEVIATION KEY FOR TIBET
The Tibet autonomous region has released its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), which has placed poverty alleviation as a priority.
“The region has set its goals for the next five years, which are to keep double-digit economic growth on an annual basis and the annual increase of fixed-asset investments to above 20 percent,” said Ai Juntao, the secretary of the regional government.
According to the plan, the per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents will be increased by 10 and 13 percent, respectively, and 590,000 rural residents will realize poverty alleviation under the current state standards during the next five years.
Losang Gyaltsan, chairman of the Tibet autonomous region, said that by 2020, the livelihoods of residents on the whole would be improved.
“The region will double the 2010 figure of per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents by 2020, and infrastructure conditions will see overall improvement.”
The per capita disposable income of the region’s population now considered to be living in poverty would increase annually by 16 percent in the next five years, according to the region’s poverty alleviation office.
Liu Feng, director of the poverty alleviation department of the Tibet Poverty Alleviation Office, said eight key measures have been adopted to handle poverty alleviation, namely production development, the relocation of residents, ecological compensation, educational poverty alleviation, employment, credit and loans.
“Poverty alleviation has always been challenging in Tibet, as the poor population — mainly farmers and herders who account for more than 80 percent of Tibet’s population — is scattered across the region’s 74 counties,” Liu said.
Further upgrades of the transportation infrastructure would continue to help with poverty relief, Liu said.
According to the region’s 13th fiveyear plan, Tibet will strive to have 110,000 kilometers of highways by 2020, and all counties and towns should be accessible by asphalt roads, and all administrative villages have roads.
“The region will upgrade all the prefectural and city highways into provincial-level highways,” Losang Gyaltsan said.
A second railway connecting Tibet to other parts of the country has also been included in the five-year plan.
The railway will be built between the region’s capital city of Lhasa and Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, according to the draft outline of the 13th National Five-Year Plan (2016-20) on national economy and social development.
“When built, we’ll see even more economic benefits, even more prosperity,” Losang Gyaltsan, the governor, said at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual legislative session earlier this week. “So we really do place a lot of emphasis on this railway.”
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway currently links Tibet with inland regions of the country. The 1,956-km railway, which started operation in July 2006, is the world’s highest and longest plateau railroad.
The train has brought a major increase in both tourism and trade. With a population of just 3.2 million — 91 percent of whom are Tibetan or members of other minority ethnic groups — Tibet last year recorded visits from 20 million tourists, a 29 percent rise from the previous year.
“We hope that the railway will be completed as early as possible,” said Wangdui, a national lawmaker and mayor of Tibet’s Nyingchi City, through which the new railway will travel. “It will provide new momentum for our development, especially for tourism.” In 2015, the region reported 12 percent growth in the per capita disposal income of its farmers and herders to 8,244 yuan ($1,265), maintaining double-digit growth for 13 consecutive years.
Over the past five years, the local government has invested 78.7 billion yuan in farming and stock breeding.
Development of other industries also helped create job opportunities and boost incomes.
Top: Villagers from Lhasa’s suburban Chengguan district celebrate the start of this year’s farming and pray for a good harvest. Above: Local people have fun at a fitness center in Lhasa, capital city of Tibet autonomous region. Wang Yingqi, staff member of the Xigaze Education and Sports Bureau