HA NOI (VNS)— A new Government programme sending 600 recent university graduates to help boost development in poor and ethnic minority areas is on the right track, said Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) Nguyen Thai Binh.
The minister, answering questions from the public on television on April 13, said the "600 Wards' Deputy Chairmen" programme had so far attracted 580 young people.
The project aims to boost rural socio-economic development, reduce hunger and poverty and build new rural areas.
Minister Binh, speaking to the audience on the weekly VTV programme "People ask, Ministers answer", said that under the plan, young people with a university education would hone their leadership skills by working in the communes' administration.
Nearly 85 per cent of the 580 wards' deputy chairmen accomplished their assignments last year well, according to Binh.
There were, however, concerns about how the volunteers would be paid.
An undergrad working in a mountainous district under the programme complained about the poor pay, around VND5 million (nearly US$250), which he said was not enough for him to cover other essential expenses like health coverage and school fees for his children. He is considering quitting the programme and getting another job.
Minister Binh said this was one of the challenges the programme needed to tackle. The minimum pay offered by the programme is VND5.8 million ($272) and the maximum is VND8 million ($376).
A student from a mountainous province expressed concern that the plan conflicted with similar programmes organized by local Youth Union branches. The minister, however, said the programme did not conflict with any other projects.
The MHA is also training fresh undergrads to be civil servants in 500 underprivileged communes in ethnic minority and distant regions. The programme aims to have 300 participants by the end of this year.
Another project that recently received support from the Politburo will train 1,000 high-achieving undergrads and young scientists to work at State-run organisations by 2020. The MHA will propose the plan to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for approval, according to the minister