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February 1, 2010

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Government to raise support for rural areas

China is to increase its support for rural areas this year to better coordinate urban and rural development, the central government said yesterday in its first policy document of the new year.

"Working for coordinated development between urban and rural areas is the fundamental requirement of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way," the document said.

The document, issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, promised to improve the livelihood of rural residents, one of China's main tasks.

Expanding rural demand should be the key measure in boosting domestic demand, it said, while developing modern agriculture should be considered a major task in transforming China's economic growth pattern.

It called for more efforts to maintain grain production, increase farmers' incomes and develop rural areas.

It said the central government would continue to improve policies to empower and benefit farmers. The government would also continue to boost financial input in agriculture and rural areas.

The document stressed budget expenditure should first support the development of agriculture and rural areas, and fixed-asset investment first be channeled into agricultural-related infrastructure and projects in relation to rural livelihoods.

More subsidies should be channeled to increase output and the purchase of agricultural machinery, it said.

The government would implement more policies for purchasing and stockpiling major agricultural products to stabilize prices of major farm produce.

More efforts will be made to strengthen financial services. The document said basic banking services would be available in all villages and towns in the next three years.

It called for more efforts to develop township banks, loan-lending companies and mutual funds in a bid to guide more capital into the rural financial market.

The document said central government would roll out more favorable policies to encourage input in rural regions. Enterprises which establish rural welfare foundations would enjoy tax breaks and large and medium-sized cities and various sectors should give an impetus to rural areas' development, providing one-to-one support and participating in industrial development and infrastructure construction.

The document also urged related departments to study favorable policies to guide more educational resources and scientific research institutions to tap into the country's rural regions.

To ease a chronic financing shortage in rural areas, the document said, the government required financial institutions to further increase agriculture-related loans.

The government vowed to promote modernization of agriculture by improving technological innovation and said more efforts should be made to raise grain yield and quality while stabilizing planting areas.


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