Maryam Anas Ganaie   -   For the first time, in 1976, The Comrade Deng Xiaoping used the term "well off" and well-off family" to explain "modernization with Chinese characteristics" in a meeting with the then Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira.

At that time, China sent its officials to Japan, Western Europe and the USA to observe and learn their experiences of economic and social development.

Today, the world is mesmerized by the unprecedented miracles and tremendous transformation achieved by this great nation in the area of social development and economic well being. China is the first country to achieve poverty reduction targets of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The poverty reduction journey of China has been classified into five phases: i) (1947-77) Poverty reduction in broad sense ii)

(1978-1990) From "reforms and opening up" to "building a well off society" iii)

(1990-2000) From "well off society with adequate food & clothing" to "the overall well-off society" iv)

(2002-2012) From an "overall well-off society" to "building a well-off society in an all-round way" v)

(2012-2020) "building a moderately well-off society in all aspects" to "completing the process of building a moderately well-off society in all aspects".

All the specified phases pose complex poverty challenges and entail corresponding reforms to cope with these challenges.

Now, China is in the last phase of poverty reduction and ready to achieve the stage of moderately well-off society with comprehensive development of economy, politics, culture, society and ecological civilization to realize dream of extending prosperity, happiness and revitalization to 1.3 billion Chinese people.

Today China vows to eradicate poverty from the face of its nation by 2020.Over the span of 30 years,the country reduced poverty rate from 73.5% in 1981 to 3.1% in 2017, around 700 million poor households have been taken out of poverty, accounting for more than 70% of the global poverty reduction.

In only 2015, China identified 90 million poor households and today only 30 million are left. Undoubtedly, strong political leadership, supporting private sector, motivated nation and willingness to change the fate of current and future generation played an important role in this great revolution.

The Government of China spared no effort to take their people out of the vicious circle of poverty.

The country developed a strong mechanism of need assessment through identification of poor at household level through its centrally developed database and validation system.

Poverty level of household is assessed on the basis of income, health status, physical fitness, education, living conditions, and skills. The "Big Data Targeted Poverty Alleviation Cloud" system built by Guizhou Provincial Government is an example is this regard.  The system developed a "live map" to manage the targeting, causes of poverty, and poverty alleviation measures in real time.

After identification of root cause and need assessment, action plans have been developed mainly focusing on labour transfer training, whole village advancement, and development of local industry in the country.

Various projects and programs have been designed and implemented to uplift the living standards of poor households. One such initiative, "10 Thousand Enterprises assisting 10 Thousand Villages" project.

Under the project, selection of villages is based on field survey conducted by experts to assess resources and potential of the villages and available supporting policies to make investment decisions.

Public and private owned enterprises selectvillages as per their production and business specialization.

These public & private owned enterprises then facilitate villages in the areas tunnel farming, livestock management, animal husbandry, food processing facilitation, e-commerce business development, branding, packaging and sales assistances So far, around 46,000 private businesses have been paired up with 33,600 poor villages. The same approach may be adopted in Pakistan by engaging public and private owned enterprises to make investment in poorest villages aiming to alleviate poverty and improving standard of living.

"Agritainment" is unique terminology adopted by the Chinese Government to promote potential villages as tourist place for entertainment purposes. A noteworthy achievement is the rural tourism development model in Shihan Village, Hainan Province. With the government support on tourism development, the Village has turned from a poor village into a beautiful village that is renowned both in China and abroad. In January-August 2017, Shihan Village received 34,049 tourists and 4671 overnight stays, which generated income of 829,400 Yuan. The annual per capita income of the villagers has increased from 2,000 Yuan in 2012 to nearly four times today, reaching nearly 8000 Yuan.

Another example is Photovoltaic Poverty Alleviation in Shandong. In 2016, the Poverty Alleviation Office of Yiyuan County built a village-level photovoltaic power station in Chaqi Village.

The project has an installed capacity of 155 KW and an annual power generation capacity of 180,000 degrees. The project increased village income by 50,000 Yuan each year, and household's income by about 1100 Yuan per year.

The role of SMEs in poverty alleviation is very critical. SME sector, both in China and Pakistan, comprises over 90% of total economic establishments. The strong SME support mechanism adopted by China is an example for Pakistan to bridge widening income gaps through promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses, to generate jobs and help alleviate poverty.

In China, around 15 thousand enterprises are registered per day. A company can be registered with the initial investment of 1 Yuan only. The country has adopted strong financial system, technological support, information systems and support mechanism for business development.

In Pakistan, around 25% of the total population is living below the poverty line. The majority of the poor reside in rural areas. Chinese model of poverty alleviation through agriculture support is an example to promote dairy, livestock and horticulture sector of Pakistan. Similarly, availability of social safety nets, financial system, technical transfer with technical assistance, education and vocational trainings and infrastructure development transformed the far flung villages into prosperous destinations.

Infrastructure development in terms of linking farms to markets also critical. China has invested heavily in our infra-structure and energy related projects under the umbrella of China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project, a part of Silk Belt Project in China. It will help improve the conditions for poor people in Pakistan. It is envisaged that these investments will benefit Pakistan and will be instrumental in ensuring sustainable development.

Maryam Anas Ganaie