UNDP Report:China Should Provide Basic Public Services for All Its Citizens

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Nov. 17 – According to the China Human Development Report 2007/08 called “Access for All: Basic Public Services for 1.3 Billion People,” the country should hasten the process of providing basic public services for all its citizens.

The report was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme and researched by the China Institute for Reform and Development for one and a half years.

It specifies nine policy recommendations to help the country cope with its inadequate public service system and improve the lives of rural residents.

The report went on to say that China should implement comprehensive institutional and policy reforms to provide all citizens with access to better health services, education, social security and public employment services.

“The government’s agenda places priority on providing basic services, and its fast-paced actions to do so will go a long way to ease the challenges at home and abroad from the financial crisis and economic slowdown” said Khalid Malik, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme Resident Representative in China, in a press release.

He added, “These timely actions can make people feel more secure to consume, and in turn, help realize China’s urgent goal of keeping a high economic growth rate.”

“With budget revenues higher than 20 percent of GDP, with a high national savings rate and with two trillion dollars in official reserves, China now has the resources to make equitable provision of key public services to all China’s people a reality.”

Furthermore, the report said that the gap between the rich and poor in the country is hampering growth by discouraging consumption and slowing productivity. The differences in rural and urban areas in the country are highlighted by the quality of social welfare, education and elderly care provided by the local governments.

The report said that continuous reform in public services is the key to China’s future and is the only way that it can meet the demands of an advancing economy and society.

According to The Guardian, while Beijing and Shanghai have reached the development level of countries like Cyprus and Portugal, provinces like south-western Guizhou are comparable to Namibia or Botswana.

One of the report’s authors, Chi Fulin, told media: “Equalization of basic public services is an important condition for expanding domestic demand and maintaining steady and rapid economic growth.”

“In the new era of Chinese development, real access to basic public services of good quality should be acknowledged as a fundamental right of all Chinese people and a bedrock responsibility of the Chinese government,” the report added.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded here.

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