Deputy Minister: Culture and people must be internal strengths of the Capital
The draft revised Law on the Capital has been submitted to the National Assembly at the 6th session for debate and will be approved at the 7th session next year. The draft aims to develop the Capital’s cultural identity and social security, thus making the Capital’s culture and people become its internal strength for promoting its sustainable development. The VietNamNet talks with Deputy Minister of Justice Tran Tien Dung on this issue.
Hoan Kiem lake, the center of Hanoi - the “City for Peace” by the UNESCO since 1999__Photo: VNA

The draft revised Law on the Capital has been submitted to the National Assembly at the 6th session for debate and will be approved at the 7th session next year. The draft aims to develop the Capital’s cultural identity and social security, thus making the Capital’s culture and people become its internal strength for promoting its sustainable development.

The VietNamNet talks with Deputy Minister of Justice Tran Tien Dung on this issue.

How do you assess the current state of cultural and human development in Hanoi? What are special cultural development policies proposed in the draft revised Law to develop the Capital’s culture worthy of the thousand-year tradition of Thang Long - Hanoi and build Hanoi into a center of cultural convergence of the whole country, thereby utilizing culture as a new development resource for the capital city?

With more than 1,000 years of civilization, from the time it was the Thang Long citadel until now, Hanoi has always been the largest cultural center in the country, therefore, developing the cultural identity and elegant and civilized Hanoi people is regarded as the core of its sustainable development policy.

In the 2016-20 period, Hanoi’s expenditures for cultural development grew by 30 percent compared to the previous period. In 2019, Hanoi capital was the first locality in the country to become a member of UNESCO’s network of “creative cities”. According to the data collected in 2018, its cultural industry had recorded certain development, contributing some USD 1.49 billion to the regional total product and accounting for 3.7 percent of its GRDP.

During the period, as the country’s leading locality in the number of cultural heritages (5,922 relics of all types, including five world heritages), the Capital’s preservation and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage values were properly performed, achieving positive results. Not a few artisans with contributions to the work of intangible cultural heritage preservation were also honored in time.

Despite its achievements in the cultural and human development, there remain limitations to be addressed in order to make Hanoi worthy of its status and position as the country’s capital city.

In fact, a number of heritages and spiritual cultural values ​​of Hanoi people have been degrading. During 2013-20, among 5,922 relics in the locality, there were 1,617 degraded relics with only 1,125 relics repaired. The remaining 492 degraded relics were neither repaired nor embellished due to lack of funds. Meanwhile, the mobilization and use of social resources for cultural development remains low. In the 2016-20 period, total investment expenses for the repair and renovation of historical-cultural relics were VND 3.461 trillion, of which the amount mobilized from social sources was VND 873 billion, accounting for only 25.22 percent. Regretfully, culture has not really become an internal strength and motivation for the Capital’s socio-economic development and international integration.

Against the backdrop, under Resolution 15-NQ/TW dated May 5, 2022, on directions and tasks of development of Hanoi capital through 2030, with a vision toward 2045, the Political Bureau sets out tasks of harmonious combination of economic, cultural, social and environmental development with national defense and security assurance as well as foreign affairs development; harmonious and smooth combination of cultural identity preservation with economic development; and combination of economic development with cultural development, in which culture and people must be the goal of, and foundation, resources and driving force for the capital city’s development.

In light of this, perpetuating Article 11 of the 2012 Capital Law, the draft Law institutionalizes Resolution 15-NQ/TW with a number of new specific mechanisms for development of the Capital’s culture, specifically:

Firstly, Hanoi is expected to have a cultural industry center under its master plan. This is among priorities for development of its cultural and tourist industries into one of its spearhead economic sectors i.e. cultural tourism. As a member of the UNESCO’s network of creative cities, Hanoi will build such cultural industry center on the basis of its resources and strengths.

Secondly, the Hanoi People’s Council will have to provide more financial and spiritual aid for artists, artisans and practitioners preserving intangible cultural heritages, thus helping create jobs and increase income for local people in craft villages; and support funds for the generation-to-generation transfer, practice and promotion of intangible cultural heritage values; and consider awarding the “Hanoian Artisan” title to intangible cultural heritage-practicing artisans.

Thirdly, the draft Law focuses on preserving and promoting cultural values ​​of villages engaged in making craft products in order to create a foundation for promoting creative designs, thereby contributing to building a creative city. With some 1,350 craft villages, Hanoi will build a creative design center to help those craft villages efficiently design their products.

Fourthly, in order to mobilize resources for the Capital’s cultural development, the draft Law specifies investment projects in the form of public-private partnership (PPP) in the field of culture, of which the minimum total investment amount  will be the same as that in the fields of health and education as provided in the Law on Investment in the Form of Public-Private Partnership (PPP Law).

 Fifthly, Article 42.1 of the draft Law allows Hanoi to manage, operate and exploit public assets in the form of franchising for the commercial operation and management of cultural works and infrastructure facilities managed by the State in the Capital.

This is an appropriate measure that helps Hanoi mobilize social resources for efficient exploitation, operation and maintenance, in cooperation with the State, of cultural works for proper purposes, thereby facilitating more widespread cultural activities and helping both the State and investors gain higher economic benefits from the cooperation.

Excepertions are museums, libraries, historical-cultural relics, which would not be eligible for franchising.

Lastly, Hanoi is allowed to apply on a pilot basis a controlled mechanism for development of trade and cultural promotion zones in given locations with potential and advantages in trade, services, tourism and culture. The historical inner city of ​​Hanoi, with streets called “Hang” (trade/commodity line) and “Tong Duy Tan - Cam Chi food streets”, has favorable conditions for developing a “reformed” trade promotion zone. The success of the opening of “pedestrian zones” on weekends is an example of the formation of trade and cultural promotion zones as the city is undergoing renovation, embellishment and restoration of the historical inner city. Therefore, it is expected that this provision of the draft Law will help develop trade and tourist services in old quarters and streets, night economy and trade and cultural promotion zones, thereby helping increase income for local people and state budget revenues in Hanoi.

It is targeted that by 2030, the Capital’s cultural industry will basically become a key economic sector that might help strongly promote the development of other industries. In your opinion, which priority mechanisms for development of the Capital’s cultural industry should be proposed in the draft Law in order to achieve that target?

Cultural industry is a new economic sector. Experience of foreign countries shows that promoting unique values of culture through the cultural industry development is one of important factors and driving forces for national sustainable development, especially in the present context of globalization and international integration. This is also a general development trend of the world and constitutes one of comprehensive and sustainable development strategies of many countries in the world, with a view to enhancing the “soft power” and building national brand in the global market.

Hanoi boasts numerous strengths for developing the cultural industry, namely a rich, diverse and unique cultural heritage (leading the country with nearly 6,000 historical-cultural relics, including 16 special national relics and relic clusters, nearly 1,200 nationally ranked relics and one world cultural heritage); particularly enormous and valuable human resources (with over 51.7 percent of population being young people, attracting 65 percent of total scientists, certified artisans, skilled and creative workers  nationwide). Being a major science-technology, economic and international exchange center and having cooperative relationships with more than 100 countries’ capitals all over the world and trade relations with over 200 countries and territories, Hanoi has all favorable conditions for becoming an expansive market for the cultural industry’s development.

With the aforesaid advantages, Hanoi has become a place for converging, nurturing and promoting cultural creativity and developing high-quality cultural products and services, Hanoi has set the target that its cultural industry’s revenues will account for 5 percent of its GRDP by 2025, 8 percent by 2030, and 10 percent by 2045.

In pursuance to Resolution No. 15-NQ/TW, in order to enable the Capital to become one of the three major cultural industry centers of the country, thereby creating a solid foundation and important driving force for the formation of a “creative city”, the draft Law contains some new provisions aiming to prioritize and promote the development of Hanoi’s cultural industry.

Firstly, the draft Law specifies various investment projects in the culture activities-related sectors eligible for investment incentives, including cinema, performing art, fine arts; photography, exhibition, and cultural tourism.

Secondly, eligible projects would enjoy investment incentives such as land rental and water surface rental exemption for the first 10 years of operation and 50-percent land rental and water surface rental reduction for the remaining operation duration; five-percent corporate income tax (CIT) following the CIT exemption period in the first four years of operation and 50-percent CIT reduction in the subsequent nine years. Businesses that implement new investment projects would enjoy CIT exemption or reduction for a given period counting from their first year of generating taxable income.

The draft Law has proposed a number of mechanisms to make a radical progress in terms of social security and social welfare, thereby creating a solid foundation for the social security development and improvement of Hanoians’ living standards. Can you give an insight into such novel provisions?

Over the recent years, the social security and social welfare systems for and living standards of Hanoians have been remarkably improved. Many special policies have been issued and implemented by the Capital. During the 2016-20 period, the city built 10,000 houses for people with meritorious services to the nation, facilitated the construction and repair of 7,565 houses for poor households, and set its own standards on social insurance allowances which are higher than those provides by the central agencies (VND 440,000 compared to VND 360,000 for the 2021-25 period). Social protection policies for social insurance beneficiaries are increasingly expanded, contributing to reducing difficulties for socially vulnerable groups. Hanoi has also intensified the implementation of solutions to sustainably alleviate poverty, improve the people’s material and spiritual life, narrow the rich-poor gap in urban, rural and mountainous areas of the city. Hanoi’s poverty rate has been plummeting from 7.52 percent in early 2011 to 0.21 percent at the end of 2020.

However, the city’s social security system still see some limitations: the poverty reduction rate has not been kept stable; the risk of falling back into poverty remains high; the living standards gap between cities/towns and urban areas shows slow improvement; the mobilization of social resources for social security proves not too effective; and non-public social relief establishments and those providing voluntary drug detoxification services have not received support for development. At present, Hanoi has only three private voluntary drug detoxification establishments with 32 rooms licensed by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs under Government Decree 147 dated December 2, 2003. Social relief establishments have found it hard to develop due to lack of investment resources in social security which is not commensurate with Hanoi’s potential and practical conditions. Meanwhile, the rapid urbanization, free migration and career mobility have put a great pressure on urban centers in providing social services and guaranteeing the right of the people, particularly vulnerable groups, to enjoy benefits from social security and protection policies. In order to realize the Capital’s social security development goal mentioned in Resolution No. 15-NQ/TW, on the development of a comprehensive and all-people social security system, expansion of policy beneficiaries, creation of conditions for people to have maximum access to essential social services, synchronous implementation of social policies, and improvement of social welfare, the draft Law adds a number of new provisions on Hanoi’s social, social security and social welfare policies.

Social policies are provided in Article 28.1 of the draft Law, emphasizing that the Hanoi People’s Council would decide to allocate local budget funds for the poverty alleviation and job generation; and offer soft loans for workers and employees in industrial parks to purchase social houses. Hanoi would also provide production land areas for poor ethnic minority households who live in ethnic minority and mountainous communes and work in agricultural and forestry sectors. Persons permanently residing in Hanoi and children of those working in industrial parks and export processing zones may receive financial support for payment of intermediate or collegial vocational education fees.

Regarding social security and welfare policies, Article 28.2 of the draft Law proposes providing support at various levels for Hanoians to pay voluntary social insurance premiums, i.e., 100 percent of insurance premiums for people from poor households, at least 60 percent of insurance premiums for those from low-income households, and at least 20 percent for others. People with disabilities, people aged 70 years or older, and women from poor households would be covered by health insurance without having to pay premiums. The elderly permanently residing in Hanoi would be entitled to free annual medical check-ups.

In addition, non-public social relief establishments, non-public drug detoxification establishments or those providing voluntary drug detoxification services would be entitled to land use rental exemption upon their establishment, CIT exemption, soft loans for their first five years of operation, and accounting-related incentives, according to Article 45.4 of the draft Law.-

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