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Jul 28, 2023 / 13:06

Resolution 15 outcomes: Transformation of mountainous ethnic regions (P.3)

Substantial investment by the Hanoi municipal government has resulted in relatively synchronized infrastructure, socio-economic development, and better living standards for ethnic minorities.

As part of its efforts to concretize the National Assembly's Resolution 15, Hanoi has introduced a series of mechanisms and policies to transform the mountainous ethnic minority villages.

Hanoi's investment has had a transformative effect on Dong Xuan, an ethnic mountain community in Quoc Oai District.Photos: Lam Nguyen/The Hanoi Times

Improving living standards

The 90 kilometers that separate downtown Hanoi from Minh Quang Commune in Ba Vi District can now be covered in just over an hour.

This convenience results from the upgrading of almost all the main roads leading to this mountainous ethnic community.

Nguyen Van De, 73, is a respected figure from Lat Village in Minh Quang commune who has witnessed significant changes in the area where he has lived his entire life.

"About 95% of ethnic minorities in the commune have received free health insurance. Furthermore, there are no more ethnic minority households living in makeshift or dilapidated houses," De said.

An Phu Commune in My Duc District has also undergone significant changes compared to seven or eight years ago.

The once winding dirt road has been replaced by a paved road leading directly to the commune's People's Committee headquarters.

Nguyen Xuan Lap, from Thanh Ha village in An Phu commune, said schools in the area have received substantial investment, so children no longer have to travel long distances to attend school.

"The village streets are now brightly lit at night, and the community benefits from a spacious and beautiful cultural house that provides an ideal venue for local meetings," said Lap.

After years of anticipation, ethnic minorities in Dong Ke Village (Tran Phu Commune, Chuong My District) are pleased to see gradual improvements in their production conditions.

The introduction of an in-field irrigation system has allowed mechanization of tillage and sowing, enabling villagers to plant two to three crops per year and steadily increase productivity, according to Dinh Thi Duong, a resident of Dong Ke Village.

Bui Van Sam, vice chairman of the Dong Xuan Commune People's Committee, said the expansion of the capital's administrative boundaries has had a significant positive impact on mountainous areas.

"Such an expansion has brought essential infrastructure such as electricity, roads, schools and health stations. The living conditions of ethnic minorities in Dong Xuan Commune have vastly improved, surpassing some neighboring communities in Hoa Binh Province. The synchronized investment in infrastructure is the most significant development since the capital was enlarged 15 years ago," Sam said.

 After 15 years of being incorporated into Hanoi, the ethnic minority communities and the mountainous areas of the Ba Vi district have been experiencing positive changes.

Promoting new-style rural areas

Ba Vi District, with seven ethnic minority communes, has also undergone transformative changes after expanding administrative boundaries.

Once an extremely backward commune after the city's consolidation, Ba Vi Commune (Ba Vi District) now shows a completely transformed appearance. In early 2022, Ba Vi Commune was recognized as meeting the new-style rural standards, a significant achievement for the commune's Party committee, government, and the many Yao ethnic people who live there.

Duong Trung Tuan, Secretary of the Ba Vi Commune Party Committee, said the successful achievement of the New Style Rural Target was made possible by the substantial infrastructure investment made by the municipal government.

"Without the city's significant priority in infrastructure investment, it would have been uncertain when Ba Vi could have achieved its new-style rural target," Tuan said.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Chi, Deputy Head of the New Rural Development Program Coordination Office in Hanoi, noted that the effective implementation of the New Rural Development Program, along with ethnic affairs and policies, has led to a comprehensive transformation of ethnic minority and mountainous areas in Hanoi.

In addition to the seven communes in Ba Vi District, all the other seven communes in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in districts such as Thach That, Quoc Oai, My Duc, and Chuong My have achieved the status of "new-style rural area".

This transformation is evident in various accomplishments.

"All roads from the districts to the communes have been paved or concreted, and 100% of households have access to grid electricity. The communes boast medical clinics and schools that meet national standards for health care, education, and training. In addition, the majority of households in ethnic minority areas have permanent or semi-permanent houses and Internet connections," Chi said.
Nguyen Quan, head of the Hanoi Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, said the economic life of ethnic communities has improved significantly.

Communes in ethnic minority and mountainous areas are experiencing an annual economic growth rate of about 11%, and per capita income has risen steadily, reaching about VND55 million (US$2,323) per person per year, with some communes exceeding VND60 million (US$2,535) per person per year.

In addition, the rate of poor households in these areas has been dramatically reduced to only 0.72%, a decrease of nearly 21% compared to 15 years ago when National Assembly Resolution 15 came into effect.

 The mountainous ethnic minority commune of Phu Man in Quoc Oai District is determined to achieve advanced new rural status.

More challenges ahead

These positive changes underscore the importance and correctness of Resolution 15 as an important and historically significant policy. However, challenges remain, requiring continued efforts and increased investment from the central government and Hanoi.

The Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Phu Man Commune (Quoc Oai District), Dinh Cong Nhat, acknowledged the impact of the city's substantial investment, which has resulted in relatively synchronized infrastructure and driven socio-economic development, ultimately improving the living standards of ethnic minorities.

However, after years of construction, some infrastructure, especially village cultural facilities and canal and irrigation systems, are deteriorating and need to be repaired, Nhat said.

An Phu Commune has seen significant positive changes in people's lives thanks to investments from Hanoi and My Duc District.

Bui Van Chuyen, Chairman of An Phu Commune People's Committee, said the area had developed a lotus cultivation industry combined with tourism experience.

The improved transportation system has attracted a large number of tourists to visit, take pictures and enjoy local delicacies. This has led to a significant increase in household income. To further promote lotus cultivation and tourism, locals hope for more support from the city, including tour links, vocational training, and guidance in diversifying services related to lotus products," said Chuyen.

As a region with seven of the 14 mountainous ethnic minority communes in Hanoi, Ba Vi District faces certain challenges.

The standard of living for many people is still relatively low compared to the district's overall level, and the poverty rate remains high, making the risk of falling back into poverty a constant concern.

To address these limitations, Nguyen Duc Anh, Vice Chairman of the Ba Vi District People's Committee, emphasizes the importance of sustained attention and allocation of funds to implement approved projects and initiatives.

The focus should be on prioritizing urgent livelihood projects and technical infrastructure development to stimulate economic growth and ensure sustainable poverty reduction for ethnic minorities in the district.

(to be continued…)