BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese civil affairs authorities responded on Friday to criticism of a proposed house-for-pension eldercare program, calling for greater understanding of the proposal.
"The house-for-pension eldercare pilot program is only a subproject of the insurance fund's investment in eldercare services," read a statement on the website of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
The proposed program has drawn a mixed response since it was unveiled last week, with many suggesting that it shows the government is preparing to pay less attention to eldercare services.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a document last week promising a complete social care network for people over age 60 by 2020, by which time the age group is expected to reach 243 million.
The house-for-pension program, together with a spate of other policies such as encouraging private investment in eldercare services, is dedicated to serving the world's largest population of elderly.
In addition, breakthroughs in land use, tax and government subsidy policies will also be made in order to better serve the elder people, according to the document.
The population over 60 had already reached 194 million by the end of 2012. This is 14.3 percent of the total population and gives China the largest senior population on earth.
The State Council's decision to carry out such pilot program is well thought out and appropriate based on the study of rich international experiences in the field, according to the statement.
The media and society should study and understand the guideline in a comprehensive manner in order to prevent the public from being misled, the statement added.