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Giving preferential treatment to revolutionary contributors - a major policy of the Vietnamese Party and State
18/8/2007 9:52' Send Print

Over the last 60 years, the Vietnamese Government has amended and further developed its policy on war invalids, fallen combatants and other revolutionary contributors. Their communities have taken good care of them and they themselves have strived forwards. Particularly, during the renewal and international integration process, this policy has been institutionalised and reformed to take an important position in Vietnam’s social security and welfare policy system.

Sixty year ago on July 27, 1947, President Ho Chi Minh signed a decree on the disability pension for wounded soldiers and the widow’s pension for mothers and wives of war martyrs. Since then, July 27 has become the day for the nation to commemorate and show their gratitude to the martyrs and war invalids who sacrificed their lives and contributed to the cause of national liberation and reunification led by the Communist Party of Vietnam. This demonstrates the nation’s humanitarian traditions and morality and the responsibilities of the State and people for those who rendered service to the country.

The preferential treatment policy covers all policy benficiaries and help them to access essential social services

Since 1947, the preferential treatment policy has been extended to include 10 groups of policies and cover 13 types of policy beneficiaries. As the national economic condition has improved, the preferential treatment policy has shifted from qualitative to quantitative, and from movements to specific institutions.

During the war of French resistance, the Government only gave allowances to war invalids and the families of fallen combatants who had met with financial difficulties. In the 1954 - 1964 period, in addition to a disability pension, depending on whether they stayed in hospices or with their families, the war invalids also received an allowance to develop productive activities and were subject to tax exemptions. They were prioritised in employment and learning opportunities.

In 1964, the Vietnamese Government issued Regulations to give preferential treatment to soldiers who were sick, wounded, lost their ability to work, were retired or dead. The regulations also covered reserve soldiers, militia or civil defence men who were sick, wounded or killed during military missions. Since 1966, the preferential treatment policy was extended to cover volunteer youths in the anti-US war for national salvation, front-line conscripted labourers and porters, key commune staff and emergency aid workers in the airline service. Those people who were wounded or killed on duty were allowed to enjoy the policy the same as wounded soldiers and fallen combatants.

In the 1975 - 1985 period when Vietnam was reunified, the Vietnamese Government focused on solving relevant pending issues and adding to the preferential treatment policy many criteria to include war invalids, martyrs and other revolutionary contributors. In the French war, war invalids were classified by 6 grades, and in the US war they were classified by 8 grades. Now, all of them were readjusted by 4 grades. Due to economic constraints in that period, the Government could only help revolutionary contributors overcome some of their immediate difficulties.

Since 1995 when Vietnam further developed its national renewal process, the Vietnamese Party and Government paid more comprehensive attention to showing gratitude to war martyrs and invalids. The Ordinance on preferential treatment given to revolutionary contributors and the Ordinance on conferring the title of Heroic Vietnamese Mother were issued. These Ordinances also covered revolutionaries acting before Jan. 1, 1945 and from that day to the General Uprising in August 1945 (pre-uprising revolutionaries). Orders and medals were given to revolutionaries who were captured and detained by the enemy or had participated in the resistance and liberation war for national defence and other revolutionary contributors. In this period, besides hailing and honouring their great sacrifices and contributions to the national liberation revolution, the preferential treatment policy began to meet the minimum needs of their lives. Particularly, in addition to State policies, social organisations and individuals launched movements such as “Gratitude showing”, “When drinking water, remember its source” to take care of war invalids and the families of fallen combatants, and support Heroic Vietnamese Mothers. These movements were launched nation-wide and succeeded in mobilising great social resources to take care of war invalids, families of fallen combatants and other revolutionary contributors.

Every year, the State budget allocates thousands of billions of Dong for the care of policy beneficiaries. Five gratitude-showing programs have mobilised more than VND 2,389 billion from the community to build 245,412 houses of gratitude and repaired 104,125 others. The total social contributions amounted to VND 3,950 billion. Different agencies, organisations and individuals have committed to support all heroic Vietnamese mothers for life. More than 32,000 old and helpless fathers and mothers of war martyrs were supported and taken care of by organisations and individuals. More than 20,000 seriously wounded and sick soldiers were helped to improve their health and lives. Over 604,000 saving books were presented to policy beneficiaries who had met with financial difficulties. Every year, the central Gratitude Showing Fund mobilised more than VND 1,584 billion. About 12,000 gardens of gratitude have been handed to policies beneficiaries. Provincial People’s Committees have recognised 9,636 communes and wards as meeting six of the gratitude showing indicators.

In early 2005, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) drafted and submitted to the Government and the National Assembly Standing Committee to issue the amended Ordinance on preferential treatment for revolutionary contributors. This amended document systematically defined the policy beneficiaries, conditions, criteria and the preferential treatment suitable for the new situation.

Recently on June 18, 2007, the National Assembly Standing Committee passed the third amended Ordinance on preferential treatment for revolutionary contributors. According to this amendment, those who deserved credit for serving the nation but had already died without enjoying any preferential treatment would be entitled to a one-off package entitlement. These preferential policies have benefited about 8.1 million people, covering almost all revolutionary contributors. About 1.5 people receive the pension on a monthly basis and nearly 4.2 million others received it as a one-off package. In addition to the pension, they are entitled to other preferential treatments such as access to social services, healthcare, support to repair and improve houses, education and training and productive and business activities. More than 1 million policy beneficiaries have received health insurance cards, 40,000 children of policy beneficiaries have received preferential treatment in education and training, more than 14,000 pre-uprising revolutionaries were helped to build houses and tens of thousands of war invalids, families of fallen soldiers and heroic Vietnamese mothers were supported to improve their houses or to buy State-owned houses.

With the support from the Government and the community, now only less than 5 percent of policy beneficiary households in Vietnam remain poor, and more than 85 percent have an equal or higher living standard than the average level in the community. Meanwhile, many revolutionary contributors have become well-off or even rich thanks to preferential loans and as they know how to run business. Hundreds of thousands of policy beneficiaries and their children have become “exemplary citizens” or “exemplary revolutionary families”.

Continue the campaign encouraging the entire nation to take care of policy beneficiaries and complete the Law on Preferential Treatment to revolutionary contributors

To mark the 60th anniversary of the War Invalids and Fallen Combatants’ Day, Vietnam will further disseminate more information on Party and Government policies for war invalids, fallen combatants and other revolutionary contributors in order to strengthen the awareness, responsibility and sentiment of Party members, Government officials and people towards policy beneficiaries and promote the patriotic tradition among Vietnamese people of all generations, particularly the younger ones.

Party Committees, the administration, the Fatherland Front and social and mass organisations will focus on leading the gratitude-showing movement, giving support to financially difficult, helpless revolutionary contributors and those who are living in remote and inaccessible areas and former revolutionary bases. Those who show negative practices, irresponsibility, bureaucracy and corruption while implementing preferential policies will be strictly investigated and severely punished.

The nation-wide gratitude-showing campaign to mobilise more resources to take care of policy beneficiaries will be speeded up and through it, to educate Vietnam’s younger generations in traditional patriotism and national pride.

Resources will be focused to help financially needy revolutionary contributors to improve their lives in a sustainable manner, such as providing job training and job generation or helping them develop their own careers and businesses. Further education and training will be provided for their children to continue their families’ tradition in the cause of national building and defence in the new period. War invalids and families of fallen combatants who succeeded in working, learning and economic socio-cultural activities will be encouraged and spotlighted.

The entire movement of people caring for war invalids, and families of fallen combatants will be included in the 12-year review of the implementation of the Ordinance on revolutionary contributors. Each agency and each administrative level will develop their own practical program of action.

MOLISA will finalise by-law documents to guide the implementation of the Ordinance towards developing the Law on Preferential Treatment to revolutionary contributors.

Inspections will be held to examine the policy implementation process, particularly the policy on those who were exposed to toxic chemicals during the war.

Nguyen Thi Hang