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From: China Tibet Online 2011-12-22 14:06:00
by: Clarie Wang
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Lamas included in China's social welfare system

Lamas in Sera Monastery received  the social welfare certificate on December 21.[Photo/Tibet.cn]

A distribution ceremony which included lamas in Sera Monastery into the social welfare system was held on December 21, which improved the progress for China's national social welfare system to cover lamas' interests in temples in Tibet Autonomous Region.

According to the management committee of the Sera temple, the social insurance is voluntary for lamas over 18-year-old. Lamas only need to pay 112 Yuan per person per year and they would enjoy the pension benefit from over their 60-year-old, receiving 120 Yuan per month.

The government of Tibet Autonomous Region strived to improve the living conditions of lamas. Chen Quanguo, newly-appointed secretary of the CPC Committee of Tibet Autonomous Region, pledged in Lhasa on Saturday that more measures would be taken to help lamas and nuns.

"The government will make efforts to ensure public services such as transportation, power supply, telecommunication and TV programs to monasteries in Tibet," Chen said, adding that social welfare, including pensions, healthcare and minimum living allowances, will cover all lamas and nuns in the region.

An official with Tibet's religious affairs committee told the reporter that the new policy will start at the end of this month and would cover more than 46,000 lamas in Tibet.

"Local monastery management committees will be in charge of issuing the benefits to individual lamas," the official said.

"Those above 60 will now have a stable and secure life once they can no longer work at their monasteries. I expect that more information will be released soon," Yonten said.

Tibetan lamas, or their monasteries, usually pay for their living expenses, but growing numbers of lamas have caused many temples to be in difficulty since donations by devotees are their main source of income.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, an assistance plan targeting lamas living under the poverty line was launched in 2007 by providing medical care and an allowance in regions including Tibet, Qinghai Province and Sichuan Province.

After the launch of the assistance plan, the Chanding Temple in Zhuoni County, Gansu Province received 99,000 yuan ($15,305) substance allowance annually for its 150 lamas, nearly twice as much as the temple's annual earnings of 50,000 yuan.

[editor : ]
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