Welfare system covers rural workers

Shanghai's social security system may cover more than half a million workers in rural areas by the end of the year, China Daily reported Thursday.

To date, more than 400,000 workers in Shanghai's rural areas are covered.

According to the officials of the Shanghai Municipal Labour and Social Security Bureau, more than 90 per cent of the 400,000 workers are farmers-turned workers whose land was requisitioned in the process of urbanization.

The municipality has paid a certain amount of subsidies for their land and offered them their current jobs.

However, these former farmers were not covered by Shanghai's social security system until last October.

Tao Yun, an official of the bureau, said it is very necessary to include them in the social security system as the urbanization process accelerates and more farmers in Shanghai are becoming workers.

The officials also believe solving their welfare issues is crucial to the stability of society.

Most urban residents who are included in the social security system can easily check the amount in their social security accounts via their social security cards. Now these farmers-turned workers will be able to do the same thing, Tao said.

By the end of July, more than 100,000 out of the 400,000 former farmers had already received their social security cards.

Officials hope all of them will obtain their cards this year.

Meanwhile, the municipality is working to include all the farmers in the overall social security and healthcare systems.

At present, there are more than 2.9 million farmers in the rural areas of Shanghai, the majority of them are already in the healthcare system.

The expense for each farmer to enter the system is shared between the farmer himself or herself, the administration of the town he or she lives and the Shanghai Municipality.

Only 100,000 of them did not enter the system due to poverty, differences between their registered addresses and actual ones, or other reasons.

Officials plan to include them in the healthcare system by the end of this year.

The local government started to build up healthcare facilities in rural areas of the city in 2003, and it is scheduled to be completed by 2006.

Source: China Daily

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