Beijing, Feb 25 (IANS) China will lift 10 million people out of poverty in 2017, and the country will strictly review the spending of poverty relief funds to ensure transparent and efficient use of the money, the authorities said.
The goal was set after the country successfully accomplished its 2016 mission to bring 10 million people above the poverty line, Ou Qingping, deputy head of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said at a press conference on Friday.
In order to achieve the goal that Ou described as "very challenging", as the current poor population is scattered in regions with especially backward conditions, China will optimise investment, as well as ensure better use of funds and punish embezzlement, the People's Daily reported.
China's top auditor said in November 2016 that 63.7 million yuan ($9.2 million) of fiscal funds earmarked for poverty relief projects had not achieved their expected objective.
The audit also found that in 11 cases, violators gained profits of a total amount of 9.57 million yuan from various poverty relief projects.
Poverty relief is high on China's 2016-20 agenda, and the country has vowed to eliminate overall poverty by 2020.
Despite China's steady economic growth in recent decades, 45 million people still live below the national poverty line of 2,800 yuan ($408) per year as annual income.