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Full Text: Report on China's central, local budgets (10)
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18:26, March 20, 2008

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3. We will strongly support social programs such as education, medical and health care, and the social safety net.

We will ensure that the development of education is given priority. The central government has allocated 156.176 billion yuan to develop education, an increase of 45.1%. We will institute free compulsory education in all urban and rural areas. The central government has allocated 8.4 billion yuan for trials to exempt all urban students from paying tuition and miscellaneous education fees for compulsory education beginning in the 2008 fall school term. A total of 57.04 billion yuan, an increase of 20.56 billion yuan, has been allocated to better guarantee funding for operating expenses for rural compulsory education. Beginning with the 2008 spring school term, we will increase subsidies for providing free textbooks, increase allowances as appropriate for students from poor families living on campus, and raise the level of public spending per student in rural primary and secondary schools. We will raise the standard for calculating the unit price for repairing or renovating rural primary and secondary school dormitories in the central and western regions, with special consideration given to schools located in areas with harsh conditions such as bitter cold. A total of 22.3 billion yuan, an increase of 12.5 billion yuan, has been allocated to fully fund assistance to students from poor families attending regular undergraduate institutions, vocational colleges and secondary vocational schools. We will continue to carry out and improve the policy of providing assistance to students from poor families attending regular senior secondary schools in the central and western regions. The policy of providing free education to education students at normal universities directly under the Ministry of Education will be continued. Where financial conditions allow, local governments may also provide free education to education students.

We will promote reform of the medical and health care system. The central government has allocated 83.158 billion yuan to be spent on medical and health care, an increase of 25.2%. A total of12.61 billion yuan has been allocated to support improvements in the system of public health services. The control government has allocated 56 billion yuan (including 30 billion yuan of reserves left over from 2007) to deepen reform of the drug and health management system and to establish systems for public health, medical services, guaranteeing the provision of medical services and ensuring the supply of medicines. A total of 25.3 billion yuan has been allocated to fully implement the new rural cooperative medical care system. The base funding will be raised from 50 yuan to 100 yuan per person per year over a two-year period, with the amount of public assistance per person raised from 40 yuan to 80 yuan per year. In the central and western regions the standard for funding assistance from the central budget will be raised from 20 yuan to 40 yuan per person per year. We will expand the trial for providing basic medical insurance to urban residents by gradually including urban residents without regular employment. The level of government subsidies will be raised in step with the new rural cooperative medical care system to form a three-way funding mechanism consisting of the central government, local governments and individuals. Support will also be provided to improve the medical assistance system covering both urban and rural areas and better coordinate it with other related systems.
We will improve the social safety net. The central government will spend 276.161 billion yuan, a rise of 24.2% in comparable terms, on the social safety net and employment efforts. We will support the complete establishment and improvement of the system providing cost of living allowances for rural residents by raising the allowances from 30 yuan to 50 yuan per person per month and increasing the central government''s contribution to the allowances from one third to 70%. An allocation of 26.11 billion yuan has been made to support improvement in the system providing cost of living allowances for urban residents by doubling the allowance standard that had been raised by 30 yuan per person per month in 2007. A total of 126.3 billion yuan has been allocated to improve the basic old-age insurance system for enterprise employees, and expand the pilot project to fully fund their personal old-age pension accounts. Beginning January 1, 2008 these pensions will be increased by an average of 100 yuan per person per month. Basic old-age pensions for other people will be increased as appropriate based on this figure. These will include retired scientists and engineers who hold senior professional titles and people who retired early and receive low basic old-age pensions. The central government will provide an appropriate amount of support for the central and western regions and old industrial bases. In accordance with the Law on Promoting Employment of the People''s Republic of China, fiscal and taxation policies, including tax and fee reduction or exemption, interest subsidies for guaranteed small loans and allowances for job training, will be implemented to promote employment. Support will be continued for the policy-based closures and bankruptcies of SOEs, the pilot project for reforming collectively owned factories in northeast China and the central region, and efforts to improve working and living conditions of people relocated to build reservoirs.

We will give assistance to solve the housing problems of low-income urban families. The central government will appropriate 6.8 billion yuan for housing funding, an increase of 1.7 billion yuan. This funding will be used to actively raise funds through sources and channels stipulated by the State Council, carry out the favorable tax and fee policies for the construction of low-rent housing, and accelerate the establishment of a sound guarantee system for such housing. We will improve the matching-fund housing system.

We will develop the system of public cultural services. The central government has allocated 1.2 billion yuan to ensure free visits to nonprofit museums, memorial halls and national demonstration sites for education in patriotism. It has appropriated 3.4 billion yuan to support key rural cultural projects, such as the project to provide the rural population with access to central radio and television programming through broadcast facilities rather than cable. It has also allocated 4.1 billion yuan to support improvement of the infrastructure of local cultural institutions, protection of cultural heritage sites and faster development of the culture industry. An allocation of 2.42 billion yuan has been appropriated to support the hosting of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics. From 2002 to 2008, a total of 17.3 billion yuan was allocated from the central budget to support the hosting of the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics.

We will improve public security. The central government has allocated 9.49 billion yuan in subsidies to help people''s courts and public security, procuratorial and judicial organs in financially strapped regions purchase equipment and to support their law enforcement work. Four billion yuan, including one billion yuan of reserves left over from 2007, has been allocated to assist with the costs of processing casework in lower-level people''s courts. A total of 2.92 billion yuan has been appropriated to support comprehensive reform of the prison system. We will improve and implement the system of "management and responsibility by level" to guarantee the judiciary''s operating expenses and improve the infrastructure of lower-level procuratorial, judicial and public security departments. All operating expenses necessary to carry out important official work of these departments will be guaranteed on the basis of the principle of completely separating revenue from expenditures. After the reform of the method for collecting court fees for bringing suits, a permanent mechanism will be established to guarantee that the courts meet operating costs. We will continue to ensure adequate funds to cover the costs of monitoring product quality and the safety of food and drugs.


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