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Rural students to get meal subsidy

(China Daily)

08:58, November 08, 2011

Fu Liyuan, a second grader at the Sishan Wanquan Primary School in Duchang county, East China's Jiangxi province, has free lunch in her classroom on Oct 31, the day Fu and 68 other poor students came under a grassroots free lunch program sponsored by local charities. Hu Guolin / Xinhua

BEIJING - A recent government initiative to prevent rural children from starving has raised the hopes of grassroots philanthropists. This came after the State Council, China's Cabinet, announced that the central government will offer nutrition subsidies to 26 million poor students in rural areas.

The central government pledged to allocate about 16 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) annually to 680 counties or cities nationwide as pilot projects, ensuring that all primary school and junior high school students will receive a daily subsidy of 3 yuan to improve their nutrition.

The decision was part of a statement released after a State Council executive meeting on Oct 26.

According to the statement, canteens will be built in schools selected for the pilot project and food safety enhanced. All subsidies will have to be used to buy food for students and cannot be distributed to students or their parents in cash.

Deng Fei, initiator of the charitable movement Free Lunch for Children, said he welcomed the State Council's decision to provide nutrition subsidies to rural students.

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Fred Jansohn at 2011-11-09202.129.80.*
China, like all countries, has its reasons for doing things. In the past decade it has amassed a surplus budget of trillions of dollars and is daily looking for ways to invest its surplus. We know it has bought millions of dollars worth of US bonds, will possibly be instrumental in assisting Europe out of its debt ridden financial crisis, and is in mutually beneficial partnerships with any number of Third World countries. One might also have expected it could divert a little more of its huge and embarrassing (!) surplus toward easing the poverty and disadvantage of the millions on its own door step.
  

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