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Better provision of social security and welfare is a fundamental contents of 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy
18/11/2010 15:51' Send Print

Better provision of social security and welfare is always a major policy and task of our Party and State which manifests the fine nature of our regime and guarantees the political and social stability and sustainable development of the nation. In order to introduce essential contents of the draft 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy, next to the article on “Fast and sustainable development is the standpoint throughout the socio-economic development strategy of our country”, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung writes an article on social security and welfare. E-Communist Review has the honor to post this important article of the Prime Minister.

Social security and social welfare is a system of policies and solutions to, on the one hand ensure the minimum living standards of people against economic, social and environmental risks and adverse impacts, and on the other hand to contribute to the constant improvement of spiritual and material lives of people. Assuring social security and social welfare is not only the protection of people’s rights as stated in the world declaration of human rights (1), but also an important task of all countries in the course of development. The extent and scope of social security and social welfare, however, differs from one country to another, subject to the conception, social and political regime, development level and policy of each nation.

For Vietnam, better provision of social security and social welfare is always a major policy and task of the Party and State showing the fine nature of our regime and playing an important role to the social and political stability and sustainable development of the nation. Over the past decades, based on the socio-economic development, and in addition to the continued improvement of wage and salary system and the income of working people, our Party and State have attached great importance to the provision of social security and welfare for people. From the 3rd Party Congress, our Party defined “… Further improving material and cultural life of our people, providing people with enough food and clothes, adequate health and educational services and more dwelling houses, expanding public welfare and building new-style life at both rural and urban areas…”. In the following years, despite extremely difficult and deprived conditions, our Party and State still paid special attention to the assurance of social security and social welfare. The perception, standpoint and policies for developing social security and welfare were improved from through various Party Congresses. At the 9th Party Congress, this policy became a strategic direction for national sustainable development: “Economic growth should go hand in hand with cultural development, gradual improvement of material and spiritual life of the people, practicing social progress and justice, protecting and improving environment…”. The 10th Party Congress defined “Building a diversified social security system and moving towards to provide medial insurance for all people”, “Gradually expanding and improving the social security system in order to better respond to diversified needs of people from all walk of life, especially the needy and policy-target groups. (2).

II

Over the past ten years, the implementation of 2001-2010 socio-economic development strategy and the assurance of social security and welfare have acquired important results. Policies of social security and social welfare are more compatible and streamlined in such areas as poverty reduction, job creation, development of insurance system, preferential treatment to people who greatly devoted to the nation, social aid, expansion of public social services, better provision of cultural, medical and educational services for people. With constantly increasing resources and endless efforts put in the implementation, better social security and social welfare have been provided to people, which in turn effectively contributed to the improvement of material and spiritual life of the people, and the stability and the socio-economic development of our country.

In the course of developing the economy and society, the focal point is placed on the poverty reduction and improvement of people’s living standards. Our Party and State have issued and carried out various policies, programs, projects, and mobilized resources of society to help the poor and difficult areas to develop. Policies and solutions for poverty reduction have been carried out simultaneously in three aspects: first, creating better access to public services such as health care, education, vocational training, legal assistance, housing and clean water for the poor; providing production development assistance in forms of policy on land, concessionary credits, promotion of agricultural, forestry and fishery production, development of trades; third, developing necessary infrastructure for communes, villages and hamlets located in remote and difficult areas. Our efforts in poverty reduction has attained outstanding results which received strong support and high appreciation from the people and international community. The number of poor households was reduced from 29% in 2002 to about 10% in 2010. The gap of living standard between urban and rural areas was reduced from 2.3 fold in 1999 to 2 fold in 2008. The material and spiritual life of the people are apparently improved.

A national target program on employment was carried out with a number of effective and practical policy measures which provided job for more than 1.6 million people per year, reduced the unemployment in urban area from 6.42% in 2000 to 4.6% in 2010, and created more business opportunities for people in rural areas. These results helped improve income and living standard for the people. Actual average income per capita has increased 2.4 fold over the past ten years.

The social security and medical insurance systems have been developed with effectives tools to help reduce risk and provide practical assistance for the insured. Social security services are provided in three forms: compulsory, voluntary and unemployment insurance. The number of people subject to compulsory insurance has rapidly increased, from unemployment insurance. The number of people subject to compulsory insurance has rapidly increased, from 4.8 million in 2001 to 9.4 million in 2009, accounting for 18% of the workforce. After nearly 3 years of operation, by 2010 about 96.600 people have participated in voluntary social security scheme. It is estimated that by the end of 2010 about 5.8 million people participate in unemployment insurance scheme. Medical insurance also quickly developed with the number of insured increasing from 13.4% of population in 2000 to 62% in 2010. It is noteworthy that free medical insurance has been provided for children under 6 year old and some policy-target groups. Medial support is also extended to upper adjacent households of poverty line etc.

Policies of preferential treatment to people who hold national merit awards has been continually improved. The preferential subsidy in 2009 was 2.1 times higher than that of 2006. In 2010 the central budget spares nearly VND 19,000 billion for providing subsidy for 1,4 million national merit award holders. Now, more than 90% of national merit holder households has the living conditions equal to or better than the average level of their localities.

Social support policies (both regular and irregular) have been expanded in both scope and the number of beneficiaries with increasing level of subsidy. The budget-financed regular subsidy and the number of beneficiaries have quickly increase from VND 113 billion and 180,000 persons in 2001 to VND 4,500 billion and 1,6 million persons in 2010. In addition, the State annually spent thousands of billion VND and tens of thousand tons of food (VND 5,000 billion in 2009 in particular) for natural disaster relief. Since the beginning of 2008, the Government has timely implemented a number of practical policies and solutions to minimize adverse impacts of the world financial crisis and economic recession on domestic production and living conditions of the people.

The social services in health care, education and training, culture, information, clean water supply, electricity supply and transportation etc have been considerably developed, especially in mountainous, islands, remote, needy and ethnic minority areas. Improvement has been seen in the quality of services and the people’s access to those services. Currently, 100% of communes across the country has clinics of which 75% has stationed doctors; At all educational and training levels, there are about 23 million people attending classes; the universalization of primary education and lower secondary education has been completed; 96.1% households in rural areas has used electricity from national grid while 82.5% of rural households is supplied with clean water; 86.9% of those households has television; and 97% of rural communes has motor road connecting to the centre of commune while 90% of communes has built post and cultural offices etc.

Mass movements such as “Mutual assistance”, “repaying revolutionary predecessors’ sacrifices” and “being grateful to predecessors’ devotion” launched by the Vietnam National Fatherland Front, mass organizations, social associations, enterprises and Vietnamese overseas community, has highlighted elevated traditions of our nation and practically contributed to the enhancement of social security and social welfare for the people, especially the poor and needy areas.

The provision of social security and social welfare, however, still faces weaknesses and mismatch. The reduction of poverty is yet sustainable and the upper adjacent households of poverty line remain high in number while many households fall under the poverty line again. Lives of a number of people, especially in mountainous and remote areas, remains difficult and income gap between people groups becomes wider. The underemployment in rural and newly urbanized areas and unemployment in cities and towns are common phenomena. Resources for ensuring social security and social welfare almost comes from state budget which entails a limited coverage and low level of support. Insurance products falls behind people’s needs. Quality of public services remains low and troublesome.

The above-mentioned weaknesses and mismatch essentially comes from the poor leadership and management, inefficient and ineffective operations, inadequate perception on the importance of assuring social security and social welfare. There still lacks pervasive systems of social security and social welfare operated under active and sustainable mechanism. That is why these systems are yet reliable sheet-anchor for the poor and poverished households to fight the poverty and build a better life themselves. In addition, contribution from social sources for the provision of social security and social welfare are yet mobilized.

III

Entering a new strategic period, our Party and State continue to consider social security and social welfare as a major key task. The draft 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy defines: Economic growth harmoniously goes social equity and progress and continuous improvement of people’s living conditions; To develop and expand a diversified and effective social security system. To create equal opportunity for people to access basic social services and social welfare; At the same time, specific objectives should be set forth towards 2020, of which constant-price average GDP per capita shall be USD 3000-USD 3,200. Human development index-HDI shall lift up to the upper average band in the world, and medical insurance shall extend its coverage to all people groups. The reduction of poor households shall be 2%-3%/year, and social welfare and public medical services shall remain solid. Real income of people shall increase about 3.5 compared with 2010 level, gap of income between people groups and areas shall decrease etc. 70% of households across the country shall have solid dwelling houses. To improve natural environment, minimize impacts of natural disaster, and actively deal with climate change, especially the rise of sea water.

The high determination of our Party and State coupled with better resources of the country is the sound foundation to ensure a good social security and social welfare system. However, we are facing with various difficulties and challenges: poverty reduction is now shifting to the most difficult areas and needy people; a significant part of our workforce is lack of sustainable trades and relevant working skills and engaging in jobs with low wages and social benefits; social and economic risks associated with market economy and increasing international integration is becoming apparent; climate change, natural disaster and epidemics tend to increase etc. All the above-mentioned difficulties and challenges are inserting adverse impacts on the lives of the peoples and social security system. The changing situation requires a new, more adaptive perception on social security and social welfare while bringing into full play effective experiences and results and remedy weaknesses in order to enhance harmonious and effective systems of social security and social welfare.

First, it is necessary to affirm the provision of social security and social welfare is one of key functions and tasks of the State and also the interests and responsibilities of entire society. Through the system of policies, mechanisms and its resources, the State performs the dominant role in providing and assuring social security and social welfare for the people. The State exercises its policy of distribution and redistribution of national income, properly allocates and effectively utilizes resources of the State economic sector to carry out structural policy in order to promote rapid and sustainable growth and be responsive to basic requirements of social security and social welfare. The State considers it as one of elements of dominant role of the State economic sector.

Second, the systems of social security and social welfare should assume an active and initiative status and bear a high socializing nature. Accordingly, going along with the increasing role of the State, it is necessary to channel resources of society to social security services and social welfare while promote the awareness and responsibility of each individual and family in securing themselves. The social security and social welfare systems should at the same time provide timely and effective support to maintain minimum living conditions of the people while promote poverty reduction and improvement in material and spiritual lives of the people.

Third, building a multi-layer, sustainable and responsive systems of social security and social welfare which promotes mutual assistance, balance between benefits and responsibilities, risk sharing, expansion of coverage to all people while focusing on supporting the poor, vulnerable subjects, especially needy children. The development of these system should be suitable to the socio-economic condition of the country and compatible with international practices.

To well implement the aforesaid requirements and fulfill objectives on social security and social welfare to be set forth in the 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy, it is essential to effectively carry out the following tasks and solutions:

1. Enhancing the implementation of socio-economic development programs in association with job creation schemes

Encouraging to the utmost different economic sectors and types of enterprises to develop production and business so as to create more jobs for people and generate income. This is most active and effective solution to sustainably reduce poverty and ensure social security. To effectively implement this task, it is necessary, on the one hand, to improve investment promotion policies and incentives given to production and business entities to employ many laborers, particularly those located in rural areas. On the other hand, national target program on employment should be continued in association with the project of renewing and developing vocational training to 2020, and the vocational training scheme for rural laborers through effective and synchronous solutions and measures. To strongly develop labor market. To properly implement policies to support both trainees and vocational training institutions such as providing soft loan for training students, and supports for training rural laborers, demobilized servicemen, women, youth etc. To expand the dispatch of Vietnamese laborers to work in foreign countries.

To ensure annual intake of about 1.8 million people of which 1 million are rural laborers for vocational training. To reduce urban unemployment rate to 4% by 2015, and 70% of workforce shall be trained laborers and vocational trainees account for 55% of total labors in society by 2020. To continue to improve legal framework on labor and employment. To attach great importance to the formation of harmonious labor relations, safe working conditions and environment.

2. Synchronously developing, diversifying and improving quality of insurance system while providing suitable support to people to attract them to participate in insurance schemes. .

In a situation where there are increasingly adverse impacts of market economy, climate change, natural disaster and epidemics, the development of insurance system and the active participation of people are seen as the important solution for sharing risks and providing support for people in the face of adverse economic, social and environment impacts. Appropriate actions should be soon taken to improve and efficiently implement mechanisms, policies in order to a diversified, sustainable, multi-layer insurance system with higher quality services which are responsive to social, economic and social security objectives as well as various needs of the insured. This insurance system should be built on the principle of pay-as-you-go in which there is a reasonable sharing between obligation and benefits. The State provides appropriate support for participants, especially the poor, poverty line adjacent households, children, policy-target subjects and socially target ones etc. The development should cover both voluntary and compulsory insurance services.

Carrying out studies, amendment and revision of regimes of social insurance to make it in line with requirements of the new period. This amendment and revision should be linked with the adjustment of retirement pension and schedule of reforming salary and wage. Formulating a policy on voluntary social insurance for working people, which also includes a policy on providing support for low income people, rural laborers to participate in different social insurance schemes. Due attention should be given to the sound implementation of unemployment insurance.

Continuing to improve across the board policies on medical insurance, hospital fees and medical examination and treatment. Special attention should be given to mother and children, the poor and needy people in difficult areas and laborers working in informal sector. Efforts should be rendered to complete the expansion of medical insurance to entire population by 2014.

Promptly carrying out studies and experiment with a view to providing other insurance services at the appropriate time and suitable to conditions of market economy and international integration. There should be supporting policy for farmers to participate in agricultural production insurance in order to sustain production and daily life.

3. Effectively and efficiently implementing the sustainable poverty reduction program

In the next decade, poverty reduction remains a pressing task having large scope and great political, social and humane significance. It is also playing a central role in assuring social security and social welfare in our country. To quickly and sustainably eradicate hunger and poverty, we need to expedite the implementation of socio-economic development programs, especially the 2011-2020 national poverty reduction programs according to new poverty standard which is appropriate with the development of our country and compatible with international standard. Poverty reduction policies and solutions should be realistic and synchronous in supporting the development of production and life, job creation, market access, self-effort to make oneself better off. It is necessary to effectively incorporate programs, projects and resources available in each locality, and attract active participation of local people, local community and authorities.

Prioritizing the allocation of budget financing and continuing to mobilize contribution from business community and entire society for the course of poverty reduction. Supporting and encouraging the poor and needy areas to strive themselves for a better life. Effectively carrying out available poverty reduction programs, especially those in high-poverty ratio districts.

Launching a mass social campaign on the implementation of national target program of building new countryside which combines socio-economic development with environment protection, poverty reduction, job creation and social security and social welfare, and sustainable development of rural areas.

4. Properly implementing the policy of providing preferential subsidy for merit award persons and social support subjects.

Currently, in our country there are more than 1.4 million merit award persons who are receiving preferential subsidy and about 1.6 million people enjoying monthly social benefits. Besides, there exist a great need for irregular supports due to a great number of the poor and needy families, poverty-line adjacent households, no-retirement pension old people as well as those affected by natural disasters, epidemics and negative impacts on market economy (3). Thus, properly implementing this policy is of importance in the effort to assure social security, social stability and a vivid evidence on the fine nature of our regime and nation.

Being imbrued moral philosophy and tradition of “being grateful to one’s benefactor”, it is necessary to improve relevant policy and preferential subsidy regime for merit award persons according to the level of economic development; providing support for families of merit award persons to develop production and business and generate more income so that they have the same or better living conditions in comparison with that of local people; encouraging entire society to participate in the movement of “returning benefactors’ favor”.

In addition to the improvement of policy, there is ample requirement of developing a flexible social support system to effectively respond to upheavals and risks. This approach requires the increase of regular and irregular support from the State budget, encouraging and mobilizing social contribution and relief in various forms and channels on voluntary and humanitarian basis from community, businesses, overseas Vietnamese people and international donors. Further expanding the subjects entitled to support and conditions for receiving support to all vulnerable people groups with reasonable benefits. Continued efforts is required to ensure that those people who has income less than minimum living standard shall receive social support.

Actively carried out preparation and prevention against impacts of natural disasters and climate change in order to minimize the lost of life and resources, especially in typhoon and flood-ridden areas. Conducting studies on the establishment of provident funds and supporting mechanism thereof at local level so that prompt assistance can be made to effected people when misfortune strikes.

5.The State spares more resources for and further heightens the leading role in improving social welfare and diversifying basic social services

Constantly improving social welfare and access to social services, first of all those basic services for the people on a fair and equal footing basis. This principle has an important significance in regulating social relations and redistributing a portion of national income in order to satisfy essential material and spiritual needs of the people, and reduce the gap of income and living conditions between different people groups and areas. Given the difficult situation of our country, properly accomplishing this requirement is a practical and vivid evidence of the preeminent nature of our regime.

In the coming time, the assurance of social welfare and the development of social services should help people access the most essential social services in medial examination and treatment, education, housing, electricity, clean water, cultural activities, information and telecommunication, transportation etc. the increasing needs of people for these essential services should be accommodated. Further actions should be taken to expedite the development of social welfare at three levels: central state fund, enterprises’ funds, and the funds of collective organizations and communities. Developing diversified and synchronous services with extended coverage and higher quality. Clearly and apparently specifying the benefit of social welfare and essential services that people are entitled to enjoy and access. Applying measures to prevent and eliminate negative and troublesome phenomena which deters people access social welfare and essential services. Adopting necessary policies to assist needy people.

Developing and effectively implementing national programs on education, health care, culture, information, sport, population, family and children. Continuing the construction of socio-economic infrastructure, particularly in the poor, special difficult areas. At the same time, perfecting the policies on tuition exemption and reduction, fellowship, concessional credit for learners, universalizing pre-school education for children under 5 year old, medical examination and treatment, access to information, legal aid, housing etc for policy-target and needy subjects. Particular attention should be given to the caring, protection and education of children so that they can grow comprehensively in physical, intellectual, spiritual and personality aspects. Enhancing the movement of nurturing cultural, well-being and happy families.

6. Mobilizing the participation of entire society to ensure the provision of social security and social welfare

Social security and social welfare bear profound social nature and organically connect benefits with responsibility, each individual with organization, community and entire society. In addition to the promotion of the role and functions and resources performed and increased by the State, we should carry out the guideline of socializing the implementation of social policies (4). Therefore, there exists the need to mobilize resources from society for the better providing social security and social welfare.

Continuing to improve policy and mechanism on the expansion of participation of various entities in the provision of quality public services. Creating favorable conditions for all people to heighten their responsibility and capacity, and practically participate in providing social security and social welfare. Encouraging the development of voluntary social security entities at community, public services providers according to non-profit principle and public-private partnership model. Enhancing social movements as: a day for the poor, mutual assistance, building house of gratitude and house of great national unity etc.

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Better providing social security and social welfare is one of primary contents of 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy of our country. It is a pressing requirement of quick and sustainable development. Availing ourselves of the new perception and high determination of the Party and State, with creative leadership of Party’s executive committee, effective management of authorities at all levels, and extensive participation of Vietnam National Fatherland Front, other mass organizations and associations, and entire society, we will certainly better perform the task of providing social security and social welfare for the people, improving material and spiritual life of the people in the new strategic period./,


(1) Passed by General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948, Article 25 “all people and households have the right of having minimum living conditions in relation to health and social welfare as food, clothes, health care, essential social services, and enjoying social security when facing employment uncertainty, sickness, disablement, widowhood, old age etc or other force majeure.

(2) Resolution of the 6th plenary session of the Central Committee of Communist Party (X Tenure).

(3) Averagely over the past 5 years, natural disasters each year killed more than 500 person/year and caused VND 15,000 million losses in terms of assets and property, equivalent to 1.2% of GDP.

(4) Document of the General Party Congress (IX Tenure) of Vietnam Communist Party.

Nguyen Tan Dung