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China woos migrant workers home for rural development

Updated: Feb 24,2018 7:33 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China is encouraging migrant workers to return home and start their own businesses amid efforts to spur rural development and reduce poverty.

The country will unveil more policies to support migrant workers to start their own businesses at home, and some of the policies will be piloted in Jiangxi and Henan provinces before rolling out nationwide, according to Meng Wei, spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner.

Meng did not elaborate on the pilot schemes nor provide a timetable for implementation.

This came after the country announced a strategy to make its rural areas more prosperous, as designated in the No 1 central document of 2018.

Hoping for a better life, millions of young rural laborers have left their hometowns to work in cities, leaving old people and children in the villages.

The return of skilled and experienced migrant workers can help promote social and economic development in rural areas and ultimately invigorate rural development, said Zhang Deyong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank.

Last month, the NDRC released a plan ordering local authorities, commercial banks and financing guarantee firms to expand financial support for returned migrant workers who start their own businesses.

China had more than 286.5 million migrant workers at the end of 2017, up 1.7 percent from one year earlier, and the pace of growth picked up from 1.5 percent in 2016 and 1.3 percent in 2015.

More than 7 million migrant workers have returned to their hometowns to start their own businesses, and each new entrepreneur helps boost local employment by providing jobs for about four people on average, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

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