Close eye on funds for poor

Updated: 2015-08-07 07:58

(China Daily)

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Close eye on funds for poor

Mukuyiwumu [Photo/West China Metropolis Daily]

"I cooked food for my mother, but when I went to give it to her she had died."

This heartbreaking line is from a composition by a girl who was left bereft of her parents because of poverty.

The sad story came just days after reports that more than 28,000 officials have been placed under investigation or indicted for misappropriation of poverty alleviation funds or other subsidies intended for rural villagers from 2013 until May this year, which has aroused indignation against the venality of some grassroots officials.

There may not be a direct link between the misappropriation of funds intended for poverty alleviation and the grinding poverty in the girl's hometown of Liangshan in Southwest China's Sichuan province, where three decades of poverty alleviation efforts have failed to pull local residents of the Yi ethnic group out of their hand-to-mouth existence. However, the diversion of poverty alleviation funds for other purposes does negatively affect the country's efforts to pull people out of poverty.

True, the remoteness of the girl's hometown is an important factor for its slow development, despite financial aid and other assistance from the central government. But has there been any survey or investigation to determine how effectively the poverty alleviation funds are being used to benefit local villagers or how much money has directly reached those households badly in need of help?

The same question should be thrown at all officials that have received poverty alleviation aid for many consecutive years.

Helping more than 70 million rural residents escape grinding poverty by the year 2020 is one of the goals of the country's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), but this goal will not be achieved if the money is siphoned off by officials or poured directly into local governments with little attention being paid to how it can effectively be used to improve the lives of the needy.