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Cash boost for ethnic areas in Yunnan

Source:   Time:

Kunming - The government of Yunnan will allocate 55.7 billion yuan ($8.46 billion) to accelerate economic and social development in its ethnic minority areas during the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), a top provincial official has said.

The money will be used on housing for rural and urban residents, the development of clean energy systems in rural areas and to provide living allowances for border residents, Yunnan Governor Qin Guangrong said.

The province spent 13.3 billion yuan on alleviating poverty during the period of the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), helping a total of 2.65 million people, he added.

And two-thirds of the government's total expenditure over the past five years was invested on improving people's livelihoods, according to the provincial government work report released during this year's five-day session of the provincial people's congress, which concluded on Tuesday.

In the past year alone, the province spent 157 billion yuan on improving its residents' livelihoods, which accounted for 69 percent of its general budget.

Tang Haiying, who belongs to the Jino ethnic group and is deputy of the provincial people's congress, said 10 years ago the annual Spring Festival was the highlight of the year because there was meat in the house.

"Every family can now afford meat and we can eat it anytime," said Tang, whose family's primary income comes from planting rubber and tea in Jinghong, the Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture.

Numbering slightly more than 20,000, the Jino ethnic group has one of the smallest populations of the country's 56 ethnic groups. Its members in Yunnan were all lifted out of poverty by 2005.

Tang said she has seen a huge change take place in the lives of her fellow villagers over the past 10 years, a period in which her own thatched cottage has been upgraded to a two-story house.

In 2011, the provincial government has pledged to assist 1.6 million who are poverty stricken, as well as to provide food and clothing for 500,000 impoverished rural residents and 500,000 subsidized apartments.

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