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Legislators call for increasing support for disabled people

2012-08-28 08:38 Xinhua     Web Editor: Mo Hong'e comment

China's legislators have called for increasing support for the country's disabled people as results of an inspection have shown that the group is still among the poorest.

The country has set up a basic social security network for the disabled, but their general living standard lags behind the national average level, said Li Jianguo, vice chairman and secretary-general of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, at the top legislature's bimonthly session starting Monday.

Li made the remarks citing a report which was based on an inspection on the enforcement of the Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons conducted by the NPC Standing Committee between May and June.

By the end of 2011, nearly 12.33 million disabled people had been covered by a new type of old-age pension insurance for rural residents. Also, 2.6 million disabled people has been covered by old-age pension insurance for urban residents, Li said.

In terms of healthcare, by the end of 2011, more than 14.74 million disabled had been covered by the new rural cooperative medical care program, accounting for 96 percent of the disabled people in rural areas, according to the report.

In addition, about 4.33 million disabled people had been covered by the basic medical insurance system for urban residents, the report said.

Li, however, pointed out that the disabled remained the poorest group in the society, with more than 40 percent in rural areas living below the country's poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about 364 U.S. dollars) of annual per capita income.

Moreover, the average per capita household income of the disabled equals to only about 60 percent of the nation's average level.

And the per capita expenditure on medical and health care of the disabled in urban areas was 1.56 times of the country's average level, while that of those in rural areas was 2.09 times of the national average, according to the report.

The Engel's coefficient of the disabled people's households was 8.1 percentage points higher than the nation's average, according to the report.

And the minimum living allowances for residents in some regions is still too low to ensure the basic living of the disabled, Li said.

Engel coefficient is the proportion of residents' income spent on food. As this proportion or Engel coefficient increases, the country is by nature poorer, conversely a low Engel coefficient indicates a higher standard of living.

The legislators also found the country lacks rehabilitation facilities and professional rehabilitation personnel for the disabled.

A survey conducted by the legislators showed about 80 percent of the disabled respondents said they are in dire need of medical and rehabilitation service, and 22.7 percent hoped the government can help them solve this problem.

And 302,000, or 55 percent, of the 547,000 communities or villages covered by the survey do not provide rehabilitation services for the disabled, according to the report.

China has more than 85 million disabled people, and their living conditions might involve about 260 million people if their family members are taken into account, according to the report.

Li said the inspection team had suggested related departments should take measures to cover all the disabled people in the social security system, and provide them with special support.

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