China Daily (Canada) - - TIBET - By PALDEN NY­IMA and DAQIONG in Lhasa, 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

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