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Applicants for welfare to face tougher scrutiny

By  HE DAN  (China Daily)

08:11, October 25, 2012

Applicants for welfare subsidies will have their household income and assets checked, a process that will become standard practice across the nation, Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo proposed to the country's top legislature on Wednesday.

To reduce nepotism and unfairness in processing applications, it will be mandatory to make records of subsidy recipients if they are relatives of staff members in social welfare departments, or community or village officials, Li said during a report to Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

A system to verify the eligibility of welfare subsidy recipients and information sharing among different government departments will be established by 2015, according to a statement on the ministry's website released on Monday.

The statement explained that 11 ministry-level departments had jointly issued regulations to verify the eligibility of low-income urban households. Some local civil affairs authorities have also piloted a system that requires the collection of a welfare applicant's information, including household registration, employment status, savings, tax payments, vehicle and securities and stocks.

Li proposed the lawmakers speed up the issuing of a dedicated law to guide the development of social relief work.

He said, without legal basis, civil affairs authorities cannot promptly verify the bank accounts of applicants of welfare subsidies as commercial bank law protects individuals' privacy.

The promulgation of a law on social safety nets has been listed on the National People's Congress' legislative plan, he said.

The government allocated more than 400 billion yuan ($64 billion) for low-income residents in rural and urban areas from 2007 to 2011, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.


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