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China pledges to increase herdsmen's income, improve their livelihood

(Xinhua)

15:02, August 11, 2011

BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- The government has pledged to increase the income of the country's herdsmen and improve their livelihood by providing more tax preferences and investments for infrastructure in pasturing areas.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, published a circular to promote the development of the nation's pasturing areas on its official website, www.gov.cn, which aims at both preserving the ecological system and increasing economic growth in the pasturing areas.

The government will inject more financial support to help people in pasturing areas shake off poverty, and relocate them from ecologically-vulnerable and uninhabitable regions, the document said.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises in pasturing areas will be offered more funds to promote technological innovations, and enterprises conducting clean-energy and eco-friendly programs will be given a 15- percent reduction in their corporate income tax, it said.

The circular has also called on financial institutions to provide preferential loans and tax policies in pasturing areas.

Moreover, more efforts will be made to help herdsmen find alternative jobs. They will have access to free employment information and receive subsidies for vocational training.

Local enterprises in pasturing areas are also encouraged to create more job opportunities for herdsmen, said the circular.

The circular has urged further construction of infrastructure in pasturing areas, such as an increase in highways, railways and airports.

Also, the circular has instructed government authorities to set up and implement a subsidy and reward program for grassland protection and to combine the ecology protection with the efforts to increase the income of herdsmen.

Under the program, China will prohibit herdsmen from allowing their cattle to graze on severely damaged grasslands, but the central budget will instead give them an annual subsidy of 6 yuan (0.93 U.S. dollars) for every mu (about 0.07 hectare) of prohibited grassland.

The budget will also reward herdsmen if they make efforts to preserve grasslands that are still available for grazing.

From this year on, the program will be carried out in the country's eight major grassland regions, said the circular.

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