China’s Urban Rural divide widens farmers cry

11/19/2019

Nov,19: This year China’s State Council issued its first policy statement centred on advancing rural development. Issued in February 2019, the declaration comprised eight sections, including policies to tackle poverty, improve public services, strengthen agricultural infrastructure and widen farmers’ sources of income. The document states that China aims to solve prominent problems involving poverty reduction, and pledges consistent efforts to crack down on corruption and misconduct.
At the same time, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pushed hard to deepen rural reforms, making the alleviation of poverty one of the government’s top objectives, for 2019 & 2020. In March 2019, President Xi told delegates at the National People’s Congress that the “country will flourish only when the countryside does, but it will also decline if the rural area does”. Even Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has praised the Chinese model of poverty alleviation and has expressed a wish to see his own country adopt similar policies!
Over the six years till the end of 2018, China claimed to have lifted 82.39 million rural residents out of poverty, according to state-run Xinhua news agency. In the past 40 years, more than 700 million Chinese people have reportedly been lifted out of poverty, representing over 70 per cent of the world's total, over that period. It is therefore, only natural that the welfare of the agricultural economy has become an area of focus as China's relatively untapped rural consumer market; this is now seen as a resource to possibly help offset the slowest growth in more than 28 years.
According to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China has seen rapid income and consumption growth in rural areas over the past 70 years. In 2018, rural per capita disposable income had increased 40 times from 1949 to stand at 14,617 Yuan (about US$ 2,088) in real terms after deducting price factors, up 5.5 per cent on average annually, the NBS report stated. However, there NBS figures do not translate into reality as in real terms, more Chinese rural population are sliding into poverty and becoming poorer then compared to figures.