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China's cabinet guideline affirms urbanization drive

BEIJING, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- China's cabinet on Saturday urged local governments to register migrant workers as urbanites and encourage farmers to buy homes in cities.

With the exception of a few megacities, rural migrants should be allowed to register as residents in the cities where they work, according to a State Council guideline issued as the government focuses on advancing urbanization aimed at driving consumption and sustainable economic growth.

The State Council wants more farmers to buy property in nearby small and medium-sized cities, and it said that better housing financing should be in place for them and other low-income groups including migrant workers.

The cabinet also called for an improvement in urban public services so that they cover all permanent residents.

Through decades of rapid economic growth, migrant workers have swarmed into cities, massively expanding their populations. Most of the arrivals are not registered in the cities in which they work and live and so cannot access the same public services as other residents.

In 2014, the number of migrant workers amounted to 273.95 million, accounting for 20 percent of the country's population.

The government has recognized the importance of better assimilating migrant workers into cities. It plans to grant 100 million rural migrants urban household registration by 2020.

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