CHINA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided a US$500,000 grant to the People's Republic of China to help the country establish a rural pension system.
China will contribute an additional $200,000 to develop a pilot scheme that will rely on a combination of government "subsistence" contributions and individual contributions, the ADB said in a release this week.
ADB principal financial sector economist for East Asia Ying Qian said: "The technical assistance will improve the policy and regulatory framework and financing mechanisms for a pension system that will provide basic old-age income protection for the rural population."
China has a goal of providing a universal pension system for 100% of its rural and urban population by 2020.
According to the ADB, the country has a well established urban system, but the rural schemes have lacked government support. About 70% of China's population live in rural environments.
The financial crisis has exasperated the need for universal pension coverage as the old age of the rural population continues to rise, the number of farmers has declined and millions of migrant workers have left the city and returned to their rural homes following the downturn, the ADB said.
The ADP said: "A universal social security system is crucial for bridging the urban-rural divide, and an inclusive cost-effective rural pension scheme could be a prime candidate for fiscal stimulus support."
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