Chinese low-income groups feel the pinch under soaring prices (2)

10:29, November 28, 2010      

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Hu Xiaotian from Nanjing Xiaozhuang University finds that while prices in the cafeteria are not rising, with the highest at 3.2 yuan, the quality seems watered down. He said, "I used to get beef with 3.2 yuan, now beef dishes can't be seen anywhere in the school cafeteria."

In order to help low-income earners and other vulnerable groups to weather the rough time, Chinese decision makers have made price control a top priority.

The State Council recently urged local departments to stabilize winter vegetable planting and strengthen grain and edible-oil production to ward off supply shortages.

Also, local authorities were ordered to establish coordinated social-security mechanisms that promise a gradual rise in basic pensions, unemployment insurance and minimum wages.

As an example of local governments acting, the Beijing municipal government announced on Nov. 24 that it would hand out 100 yuan to each of its 223,000 low income earners before the end of this month.

Further, northwest China's Shaanxi province has allocated about 60 million yuan to college dining halls to keep prices stable. Also, Changchun in northeast Jilin province handed out subsidies to wholesalers of vegetables on a daily basis, reaching 50 yuan for each tonne of vegetables.

On Friday, the State Council sent a supervisory team to conduct a nearly one month inspection tour to monitor progress made by local governments in developing price controls.

Jiang Peng said he hoped these measures work and prices would fall as soon as possible, or that an increase in his pay could make up for the price rise.
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