Truong Thi Mai, chairwoman of the National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs, spoke to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) about humanitarian activities for vulnerable people.
The Government has set up specific goals to implement social welfare policies. In my opinion, however, it must show more interest in the issue and deal with focal points. In the face of existing difficulties, the social welfare network needs to be adjusted and consolidated, with focus given to job security, social and health insurance, and social protection policies.
Due attention should be given to the poor and the most vulnerable. In the years to come, social welfare policies should be tailored to regions, with priority given to economically difficult provinces in mountain and remote areas. Viet Nam is expected to announce a ten-year social welfare strategy which is consistent with the country's socio-economic strategy by re-assessing social welfare policies.
We do need a more stable social welfare network in which a reasonable order of priority and a fixed support floor rate are needed. The current rate is not standard, therefore a new one should be established based on such factors as income, inflation and socio-economic development. The rate would gradually be raised to satisfy people's demands depending on the speed of development during a given period of time. Building a minimum living standard is the most important objective.
Viet Nam currently has a "golden population structure," meaning it has an abundance of working age people to develop society and the economy. At present, the number of working age people exceeds the number of dependants.
However, in the next 20-25 years when the golden population structure ends, then the country will have a large number of dependants. For this reason, it is a good idea to begin developing long term social welfare policies now to cope with this period when it comes. The social insurance policy plays the most important role in the implementation of the social welfare network.
Low income earners, migrant workers and the elderly are among those prone to be affected by difficult economic conditions. The long term social welfare strategy will protect these people from falling to the ‘bottom' when they are forced to deal with shocks caused by the negative impacts of economic development.
The strategy should focus on the social insurance policy, especially retirement insurance and health insurance. In the next 10 years, the average income per capita is expected to rise to US$3,200.
Without a stable and strong social welfare network, low income families will continue to live without enough money for healthcare, children's education or a decent living if they were to lose their jobs or retire. Therefore, it is essential to continue to research and adjust social insurance policies, including social insurance, in order to provide a safety net not only for vulnerable people but for society as a whole. In the future, we should gradually raise insurance fees and provide a number of options to meet the needs of people from different walks of life.
I think they will become a development trend in the future. In the Oriental tradition, sending the elders to nursing homes is rare.
In Viet Nam, we always believe that they need to be cared for in a family atmosphere by their children. Even in Western countries, children are beginning to care for the ageing parents with State support again. It remains unpopular to send old people to nursing home in Viet Nam, except for lonely and homeless people who are being cared for by the State at social protection centres.
The country should research and prepare to offer retirement insurance which will help the elderly retain independence and not rely on their children and families. — VNS