The government will expand the size of its rural subsistence allowance program, state media reported Wednesday. Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo announced that the money would be used to subsidize the incomes of China's rural poor. The US$925 million will be added to the existing program's US$396 million budget. Program funds will be given to rural residents who can demonstrate an income falling below China’s official poverty rate of US$92 a year. Beijing estimates that there are 23.65 million rural residents living below the poverty line. The subsistence allowance project began earlier this March by President Hu Jintao as an attempt to develop China's countryside and reduce income inequality.