Transition period will see poverty relief policies maintained for five yearsCentral authorities rolled out new criteria on Monday to track progress in boosting the vitality of less affluent rural areas. A task force will focus on grassroots problems impeding the building of a countryside that features prosperous industries, good ecology, civilized rural culture, effective governance and well-off farmers, said a guideline jointly released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, China's Cabinet. The guideline said resources will be pooled to consolidate the achievements of poverty alleviation and push forward the national rural vitalization strategy. Previously, authorities worked to ensure that poor people had sufficient food to eat and clothes to wear, as well as access to safe homes, compulsory education, affordable healthcare and safe drinking water. A five-year "transition period "will be introduced in formerly impoverished regions, with poverty relief policies ranging from subsidized loans to infrastructure investment to remain unchanged, to prevent vulnerable groups from sliding back into poverty en masse, the guideline said. It said authorities will improve the leadership and working system to vitalize rural regions in terms of industry, talent, culture, ecology and the grassroots governance system. A "regular assistance mechanism "will be created in less developed regions to help those on low incomes. Earlier this month, China unveiled the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), a blueprint for development priorities. The guideline said that by the end of the five-year period, rural industries fostered during the poverty relief era will see notable progress in their "quality and competitiveness", and rural infrastructure, public services, ecology and governance will keep improving. Per capita incomes in formerly impoverished regions will grow faster than the rural average during the same period. By 2035, the urban-rural gap will be further narrowed with "concrete progress" made in promoting common wealth. The moves aim to lay a solid foundation for building China into a modern socialist country－China's second centenary goal, which is set to be finished by 2049, when the People's Republic of China celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding. The guideline also warned against promoting benefit-induced indolence. It requires officials to promote low-income people's "will" and "intellect" to improve their own lives. The guideline said China has gained worldwide attention for its poverty relief achievement, which has "historically" ended absolute poverty on the Chinese mainland. The achievement is a milestone in the development of the Chinese nation, and has made major contributions to human civilization and the global cause of poverty reduction, it said. The guideline also called for continuous involvement of the nongovernmental sector in the task of rural vitalization, and cooperation with wealthier places in coastal regions. The Government Work Report released earlier this month pledged continuous efforts to develop formerly impoverished areas, as well as to bolster agricultural production and improve working and living conditions in the countryside. The National Administration for Rural Vitalization was created last month, replacing the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. The administration is tasked with ensuring a smooth transition from poverty alleviation to rural vitalization, Hong Tianyun, its deputy head, said early this month.