Following are the main facts and figures about China's drive to "build a socialist new countryside", revealed in the government work report delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday at the annual session of China's national legislature:
-- Central government budget expenditures for agriculture, rural areas and farmers this year will total 339.7 billion yuan, 42.2 billion yuan more than last year;
-- China will completely rescind the agricultural tax throughout the country in 2006, a tax that China has been collecting for 2,600 years. The reform of rural taxes and fees has greatly benefited farmers by eliminating 33.6 billion yuan of agricultural tax and over 70 billion yuan of various sorts of fees and charges.
-- Starting this year, the government will appropriate over 103 billion yuan annually to ensure the normal operation of town and township governments and meet the needs of rural compulsory education. This figure is comprised of more than 78 billion yuan in transfer payments from the central government budget and over 25 billion yuan from local government budgets.
-- This year the central government will allocate 71.6 billion yuan for investment in science and technology, a year-on-year increase of 19.2 percent.
-- Over the next two years, the government will completely eliminate tuition and miscellaneous fees for all rural students receiving compulsory education. The Central government budget expenditures for compulsory education will increase by 218.2 billion yuan over the next five years.
-- The state will spend more than 20 billion yuan over the next five years on renovating hospital buildings in towns and townships and in some counties and upgrading their equipment.
-- China will speed up the establishment of a new type of rural cooperative medical care system by extending the scope of current trials to 40 percent of the counties in China this year and by increasing the allowances paid by the central and local governments to farmers participating in the system from 20 yuan to 40 yuan. An additional 4.2 billion yuan will be allocated from the central government budget for this program.