VietNamNet Bridge – Only in Vietnam, where many people wish to be considered poor forever to enjoy support policies.Being lazy, mountainous people cannot escape poverty
During a business trip to a mountainous district, Mr. Phan Nhu Hai, Deputy Director of the Department of Labor – War Invalids and Social Affairs of Binh Dinh province was surprised when a woman walked for over 10 km to meet him to only ask for being recognized to a poor household again.
The family of this woman was previously considered poor so they enjoyed allowances and soft loans for poor people. After three years, the family was rejected from the list of poor households because their monthly income reached VND400,000 ($20) per person. Although the local authorities explained the policy to the family several time, this woman still saw leaders of the provincial Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs to complaint.
“Since there are many preferential policies for poor households, they want to be poor forever. This happened everywhere. I think the local government should be partly blamed,” Hai said.
Mr. Tran Thanh Bnh, an official from the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs of Phu Yen, admitted that the local government was “flexible” in approving needy households.
“In rural areas, with income of VND400,000 per person per month is not considered poor people, but many households have monthly income of VND410,000 per person are still listed as poor. The reason is the income of these families is unstable,” Bình said.
According to Bình, not only the people but also the local authorities want to be “poor.” Therefore, the ratios of poor households in the two provinces Bình Dinh and Phu Yen are quite high, approximately 10 percent.
Not only in Phu Yen and Bình Dinh, the “wish” to be recognized as poor is also popular among officials of hamlets and communes of the provinces Tra Vinh, Hau Giang, Quang Nam …
Mr. Le Ut Em’s family – Deputy Chief police officer of Xeo Tram hamlet in Hoa An commune, Phung Hiep district, Hau Giang province has five people and 6,000sq.m of field. Except for his mother, who is old, other members in Em’s family are at working age and they are not poor but in 2012, Em’s family became a near-poor household.
Near Em’s home is the nice house of Mr. Van Ut, chief of Xeo Tram hamlet. This family is not poor but was recognized as poor so local people were very angry. They complained to the commune government.
Mr. Nguyen Van Chien, Deputy Director of the Department of Labor, War Invalid and Social Affairs of Tra Vinh provinces, analyzed: the State has many policies to help poor people such as building houses for them, providing them with free medical insurance, exemption or reduction of school fees for their children and soft loans. With so many benefits, many poor households that have escaped from poverty still want to be recognized as poor.
Denouncing each other of “getting rich”
This situation has caused a lot of difficulties for local officials. In Quang Nam province, each year the provincial government sets the target on the rate of poor households escaping from poverty to each district. Districts again set targets for communes and then to villages.
“It is extremely difficult to reject a family from the list of poor households. We have to talk with them, to explain to them many times,” said Mr. Nguyen Thi Tung, a staff of the Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs of Tay Giang district, said.
Mr. A Lang Thanh, Deputy Chairman of Bhalle commune in Tay Giang district, said that in 2013, the district assigns his commune to have at least four households in each village escaping from poverty.
It is a hard job for the commune to find these four households because all households try to hide their sources of income. Some households have money to buy TV sets and motorcycles but when officials visit their homes, they hide their assets.
In addition, households “denounce” each other of “getting rich” to the commune government.
Mr. Briu Hung, Deputy chairman of Lang commune, Tay Giang district, said that the commune officials tried to help the people understand that they cannot rely on the state assistance forever and to get rich they have to work hard but they neglect.
Mr. Phan Nhu Hai said that the selection of poor households is carried out at villages. Because of neighborliness, local officials add the families that are not poor to the list of needy families.
On the other hand, local governments often say very clearly about the preferential policies for poor households but “forget” to mention the purposes of the support: helping people get out of poverty and when they are no longer poor, the funding will be given to other poor households. Because of not being explained clearly about the purposes of the policies, people only see short-term benefits of themselves.
In the commune Phong Thanh in Cau Ke district of Tra Vinh province, many poor households were granted with charity houses by the government but they sold the houses to have money for food and drinking but the local government did not know about it.
Mr. Thach Sa Quyet’s family in Hamlet 2 of Phong Thanh Commune was granted a house in 2009. In 2011, Quyet beat and injured other and was sent to jail. Quyet’s mother sold six wood pillars in the house for VND4 million to pay the compensation.
Nine other families in Phong Thanh commune are also defined to sell their charity houses.