Deliver the Two Assurances and Three Guarantees*
April 16, 2019
It is a basic requirement and core indicator in our poverty eradication effort that by 2020 we will succeed in delivering the Two Assurances and Three Guarantees for impoverished rural residents. This is key to the success of the final stage of our fight against poverty. Generally speaking, the Two Assurances have been delivered, but there are still some weak aspects relating to the Three Guarantees.
In compulsory education, over 600,000 school-age children have dropped out of school nationwide. Rural boarding schools do not have adequate infrastructure to meet the needs of all children who remain in rural areas while their parents leave to work in cities. In medical services, some impoverished people are not covered by basic medical insurance, and some cannot receive timely treatment for common and chronic diseases. Impoverished counties, townships, and villages lack adequate medical facilities, and some villages do not even have clinics or qualified doctors. In housing safety, roughly 1.6 million households fall into the four categories1 that are given priority in renovation of dilapidated houses, including about 800,000 impoverished households that have been registered. In some rural areas, safe home assessment is inaccurate or not conducted at all. Drinking water quality is still an issue; about 1.04 million impoverished people do not have access to safe drinking water, and the infrastructure for over 60 million rural people needs to be improved. All these problems, if not properly solved by 2020, will chip away at the success of our poverty elimination effort.
All provincial authorities and central departments must give priority to these problems, build consensus and solve them effectively. To address these pressing problems, we should adopt a working mechanism whereby the central leadership makes overall plans, provincial authorities take overall responsibility, and city and county authorities take charge of implementation. The State Council Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development should strengthen coordination and supervision to adjust the overall work in a timely manner. The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Ministry of Water Resources, National Health Commission, and National Healthcare Security Administration, as both members of the Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development and authorities responsible for addressing the Three Guarantees, should make sure that the leading officials take charge of the overall effort and other officials are responsible for specific work to ensure the implementation of policies. They should define their criteria and supporting policies in line with respective departmental functions to guide all regions to identify and solve problems. Relevant provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government (hereinafter "provinces and equivalent administrative units") should organize grassroots agencies to examine the situation, and form a clear picture before working out targeted plans and measures by coordinating all organizational resources. Cities and counties should implement these plans and measures, and closely track the progress to make sure the Three Guarantees are provided to all households.
I have emphasized repeatedly that we should maintain the current poverty eradication standard, neither raising nor lowering it. Guaranteeing access to compulsory education means ensuring that children from poor families do not drop out of school during the compulsory education period. Guaranteeing access to medical care means covering all impoverished people with medical insurance which will make treatment of common and chronic diseases accessible and affordable for them, and allow them to maintain their normal life should they suffer from a serious illness. Guaranteeing access to safe housing means moving impoverished people out of dilapidated houses. Ensuring drinking water safety means giving all rural people access to safe drinking water through a coordinated approach. This is a basic national requirement, but the situation varies from place to place. For example, in terms of housing safety, attention should be given to ventilation in south China while keeping warm is essentially important in north China; in terms of drinking water safety, northwest China should focus on accessibility of water while southwest China needs to solve the problems of water supply, storage and quality. All regions should be flexible and take their own realities into consideration rather than imposing a uniform requirement. Various measures have been explored in solving pressing problems concerning the Three Guarantees, but some regions have raised the standard either consciously or unconsciously. The regions that have raised the threshold far beyond the national standard should scale it down, and those that have kept the bar by and large unchanged should continue to maintain the stability and consistency of policies.
The effort to deliver the Two Assurances and Three Guarantees should be based on a clear knowledge of the actual situation and any pressing problems. But in some localities, things remain vague. This is not acceptable. The relevant authorities should help all localities to identify the problems so as to take targeted measures. They should also coordinate efforts to make statistics accurate and consistent. The authorities in charge of specific sectors should take the lead in working out plans, and all provinces and equivalent administrative units should formulate specific measures, timetables, and schemes to ensure that tasks are completed as scheduled. We have adequate policies and enough funds for addressing the Three Guarantees, but the key is to get things done. We should work harder and direct more attention to the most prominent problems, identifying gaps and improving weaknesses one by one and from household to household. We should fully publicize our policies and standards, to ensure an accurate understanding among all sectors of society and unify our thinking.
* Part of the speech at a seminar on pressing problems related to the Two Assurances and Three Guarantees.
1 This refers to registered impoverished households, households entitled to subsistence allowances, severely impoverished rural residents cared for at their homes with government support, and impoverished families of individuals with disabilities.
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