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China's rural pension program covers 199 million people

From : Xinhua

BEIJING, Jul. 26, 2011 -- A total of 199 million Chinese rural residents had joined the country's rural pension insurance program by the end of June, an official of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) said Monday.

Speaking to a press conference, the MOHRSS spokesman Yin Chengji said 54.08 million rural residents had started to receive pensions from the state-subsided program that covered nine municipalities and provinces including Tibet Autonomous Region.

The pension program for urban and rural residents would be implemented on a trial basis in 60 percent of China's cities and townships by the end of this year before being introduced nationwide next year, Yin said.

China launched a pilot pension program for its 800 million-strong rural population in August, 2009, as part of efforts to narrow the standard-of-living gap between rural and urban residents.

Any rural resident over the age of 16 who does not take part in the government's existing urban pension scheme is eligible to join the government-subsidized program.

Farmers over 60 will receive a monthly endowment of varying amounts set according to their area's standard income levels after paying a fee to join the program.