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Chongqing will achieve rural endowment insurance coverage 4 years ahead of rest of China

Thousands of villagers in the municipality enjoy endowment insurance, in which 3 million rural aged people can receive pension of no less than RMB 80 per month. Yesterday, the municipal government held a press conference and announced a piece of good news—from April 1st, the last 10 districts and counties including Rongchang etc. will all be included into the pilot project of urban and rural endowment insurance. We will achieve rural endowment insurance coverage 4 years ahead of the rest of China and fulfill our dream that aged urban and rural residents will be taken care of properly.
At the conference, Ma Zhengqi, member of the Standing Committee of CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, executive vice mayor of Chongqing municipal government, answered the questions from correspondents.
Insurance participation rate reaches 80%.
In recent years, with the acceleration of industrialization and urbanization, a large number of rural labor force left for cities or towns to work. Together with the consistent increase in the number of aged people, the social endowment insurance system is facing a tough situation.
How to remove their worries? Oriented towards people’s livelihood, the municipality regards the pilot project of urban and rural endowment insurance as the key to overcome the difficulty. Under the promotion and support of CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee and Chongqing municipal government, 30 districts and counties started pilot work in July, 2009 and October, 2010 respectively, respective pilot rate reaching 40% and 75%, ahead by 30% and 45% of the average pilot rate of the country during the same period.
By the end of February this year, the number of insured persons in the pilot districts and counties of the municipality reached 8.11 million, including 2.77 million elderly people over 60 years of age. Monthly pension was paid on time and in full.
The 10 districts and counties which will be included into the pilot project on April 1st are Wansheng, Shuangqiao, Qijiang, Tongliang, Dazu, Rongchang, Bishan, Chengkou, Xiushan, and Pengshui. The declaration work was started in January. “According to the situation of insurance participation in these areas, the number of insured persons among urban and rural residents in our municipality will reach 10 million, accounting for 80% of the insurable person; the number of elderly people who receive pension will be more than 3 million, covering 90% of the total number of elderly people in our municipality.” Ma Zhengqi said.
Wide range and high standards
Ma Zhengqi mentioned that endowment insurance of the municipality features five characteristics, including wide range, high standards etc., when comparing with that of other provinces and municipalities.
First characteristic is urban-rural coordinated development and wide range. In other provinces and municipalities, the insurance is only specific to rural residents, therefore referred to as new rural endowment insurance; however, our municipality is the first one to include hundreds of thousands of urban residents in the range of the insurance, therefore referred to as urban and rural resident endowment insurance.
Second characteristic is high standards. With respect to the payment for endowment insurance, the annual fiscal subsidy per person is RMB 30, and RMB 70 for the disabled; in terms of the grant of endowment insurance, insured residents in our municipality may receive RMB 80 of basic retirement pension after 60 years of age, RMB 25 more than the national standard of RMB 55. The additional RMB 25 shall be provided by the Chongqing Finance Bureau and governments of various districts and counties.
The third one is coordinated development within the municipality. Same standards are adopted in main urban area and various districts and counties in order to promote rural development with better resources.
Moreover, fast development and high participation rate are also characteristics of the endowment insurance. It is reported that annual grant of pension amounts to nearly RMB 3.5 billion, in which about RMB 2.6 billion is raised from various districts and counties.
No need to raise sons to support parents in their old age
Ma Zhengqi said, residents’ endowment insurance is very popular among the masses. Firstly, to address the  concerns about raising sons to support parents in their old age, and bring a good situation of “pension guaranteed and parents cared for”。
Secondly, to stimulate rural consumption. In the past, villagers could only deposit a sum of money to support themselves in their old age due to having no pension. Now, the money can be “liberated” for current expense in order to satisfy their spiritual and material demands.
Thirdly, to resolve many social contradictions. In the past, there were a lot of petitions caused by the problems related to pension, after the endowment insurance was started, the volume of petitions has declined by 35% on average, and in some districts and counties, the volume has declined by as much as 40%.
Fourthly, to bring the relationship between cadres and the masses closer. During promotion of endowment insurance policy, grass-root cadres go door-to-door giving explanations, and are welcomed and appreciated by people.
No “one-size-fits-all” for payment standard
Ma Zhengqi said, endowment insurance system of Chongqing is featured by “basic guarantee”, “wide coverage”, “flexibility”, and “sustainability”. It is worth mentioning that, facing the condition that the returning rural migrant workers are increasing at present, Chongqing is losing no time in formulating a hand-over system among different insurances.
He said, we have no “one-size-fits-all” on payment standard due to imbalanced economic growths in different areas of Chongqing and having remarkable income differences among different groups in the same area.   For example, we have confirmed five payment levels of RMB 100, RMB 200, RMB 400, RMB 600, and RMB 900 to the insured people of young and middle age so that the insured people may select on their own in accordance with actual conditions.
Wherein, the adjustment among the payment levels is feasible. “I am in economic difficulty, so I have paid RMB 100 this year, and it is also feasible to pay RMB 900 next year if I feel it is low.”
Provided that you have bought residents’ endowment insurance, how to buy endowment insurance for urban employees if you work in the city? In such case, Ma Zhengqi said, social insurance hand-over regulation is to be released within this year in order to realize seamless connection between the residents’ endowment insurance, endowment insurance for urban employees, and the endowment insurance for peasants without land.
Pensions will be increased gradually.
Whether the government will later increase insurance amount or not? Ma Zhengqi said that it is for sure in order to make the whole society share the achievements of reform and development. “The pension standard will be improved gradually later along with further improvement of the governmental financial investment.”
Ma Zhengqi also said that our government is developing the “Golden Card Project” for social security system ——setting up five insurances on one platform, in order to make it more convenient to be insured and pay for people; one card solves five insurance problems, and is named as “five insurances in one”. 
   

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