Life changes in rural areas in Vietnam

Ha Noi, Nov. 11 (VNA) -- Major changes have been seen in Viet Nam's rural areas where monthly per-capita income increased by 6.2 percent year on year in the 1996-1999 period, paid income share per head rose from 14.9 percent to 16.6 percent. Industrial income rose from 4.7 percent to 5 percent, while spendings on daily life jumped by 4.4 percent annually.

These facts and figures were released in a report of the biweekly Vietnam Economic Times in its November 6 issue. However, the report said that despite these major changes, the lives of rural residents in different regions remain difficult.

According to the report, in recent years, the number of concrete houses accounted for 8.84 percent in general and even 24.38 percent in the Red River delta, while semi-concrete buildings made up for 48.68 percent or 68.32 percent in the delta particularly.

The rural region has 36,204 trucks, 257,465 motorized transport vehicles, 63,429 motorized boats, 129,857 tractors and hand-operated ploughs, 333,303 threshers, 1,991,941 huskers and 1,385,913 water pumps, the report elaborated.

However, more than 8,000 households are now living without shelter, half of them in the Mekong delta. Furthermore, one-fourth of rural families will live in makeshift accommodation throughout the country, the report noted. Nearly two-thirds of these makeshift houses, are seen in the Mekong delta, the biggest rice producer in the country.

The report stressed that more than 9.2 million rural households, 72.5 percent of the total, use electric lights while only 0.25 million households, accounting for 1.96 percent of the total, have access to running water. More than 7.56 million families have access to safe water sources.

Also according to the report, a survey conducted recently by the General Statistics Office showed that the monthly per-capita income of rural residents was about VND 225,000 (about USD 20), 3.7 times lower than city dwellers. The income gap between the urban and rural population has expanded across the country, requiring the Government to take proper actions and measures to overcome this situation nation-wide.--