Thursday, May 12, 2011

China's Cabinet approves plan for social security, public services for country's 83 million disabled people

From Xinhua:

BEIJING -- China's State Council, or Cabinet, on May 11 passed a five-year development plan for the country's 83 million disabled people, vowing to offer better social security and public services to those with disabilities.

China will strive to improve the social security system and provide better public services for the disabled as their overall living situation still lags behind the average social level, said a statement released after a Cabinet executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The government hopes to "ensure that, in general, disabled people can live well-off lives by 2015, with marked improvement in their participation in social affairs and overall development," according to the statement.

The government will provide the disabled with special support and guarantee a basic standard of living by expanding the welfare scope and by including all disabled citizens in urban and rural areas in the country's old-age insurance and basic medical care insurance programs by 2015, it said.

Additionally, the government will establish a social care system for the disabled by providing subsidies for the care of two million mentally or physically disabled people in the next five years, according to the plan deliberated and passed at Wednesday's meeting.

The country plans to provide one million more work opportunities for disabled persons in its urban areas and give aid to 10 million impoverished disabled people in rural areas to improve their living conditions.

The government also aims to improve a network for rehabilitation of the disabled so as to ensure every disabled person to get access to the service by 2015.

Relevant departments will work out a national acting plan to set up a network to prevent disabilities, including carrying out a series of key projects to prevent diseases which may result in disabilities and have extensive impact, according to the plan.

China has made great progress in the work related to the disabled.

Altogether 10.38 million disabled people received rehabilitation services in the past five years, 58.61 million urban and rural poor got financial aid, and 1.8 million disabled were newly employed during the same period.

By the end of last year, there are 1,704 special education schools in the country.

According to the latest statistics, China's disabled population exceeded 83 million at the end of last year. Among them, 12.33 million are visually impaired, 20.04 million are hearing impaired and 1.27 million are audio impaired.