SCIO press conference on priorities for all-round rural revitalization in 2023

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China County Times:

As with the virtuous circle of "science, industry and finance" proposed at last year's Central Economic Work Conference, the development of agriculture and rural areas cannot be separated from the support of funds and policies. Therefore, I would like to ask what measures will be taken in the field of agriculture and rural areas to strengthen policy guarantees and institutional innovation? Thank you.

Tang Renjian:

This question is related with the driving force behind building China's strength in agriculture, that is, where the driving force originates. Thank you for your question, which is a profound one. 

To promote all-around rural revitalization and build up strength in agriculture, we need to make concrete efforts, make real investments, and work together to create policy synergy. This year’s No. 1 central document focuses on areas such as investment, talent, mechanism, and institutional guarantees. 

First, we must improve the investment mechanism through multiple channels to boost rural revitalization, initially via government investment. The document prioritizes agriculture and rural areas as key areas for the national general public budget and requires local governments to take full responsibility for their investments. Efforts will be made to increase the proportion of land transfer revenue that is used for agriculture and rural areas. Eligible rural revitalization projects will be supported via local government bonds. Second, via financial investment. We need to better leverage policy tools, such as relending and rediscounting programs, differentiated reserved requirement ratios, differentiated financial regulation, and assessment and evaluation policies. We encourage financial institutions to increase their lending in the areas related to rural revitalization, with a focus on ensuring credit funding for food security. Third, via investment from social capital. There is a need to improve the linkage mechanism between government investment, financial investment, and social investment. We encourage the bundling of eligible projects implemented by market entities according to regulations. In the agricultural and rural investment sector, projects are often dispersed across many households and vast farmland, and individual projects are often scarce. However, when aggregated at a city, provincial, or national level, the scale can be significant. Therefore, the bundling of projects is necessary to facilitate deposits, loans, and implementation.

Second, we must strengthen the building of the rural talent pool. This involves a combination of cultivating and introducing talent. On one hand, efforts will be made to cultivate local talent in rural areas, such as implementing plans to train high-caliber farmers, carrying out initiatives to cultivate rural entrepreneurial leaders, and developing vocational education for rural revitalization. On the other hand, urban talent will be encouraged to go to the countryside. A program to support rural revitalization talent will be launched, guiding university graduates, skilled professionals, migrant workers, and entrepreneurs to return to or work in rural areas. These four groups of people were mentioned in the speech made by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the central rural work conference at the end of last year. They are encouraged to work at the grassroots level. Additionally, incentive mechanisms will be improved to encourage urban professionals and technical personnel to regularly serve rural areas. Preferential treatment in terms of job promotion and professional title evaluation will be given to those who serve rural areas long-term.

Third, we will improve the mechanism for advancing rural revitalization. The mechanisms mainly relate to the following aspects. First, we need to fully implement the system of responsibility for rural revitalization. We should ensure that Party secretaries at the provincial, municipal, county, township, and village levels assume their responsibilities in implementing rural revitalization. As in poverty alleviation, Party secretaries at five levels are responsible for advancing progress, and we will also adopt this approach in promoting rural revitalization to form a policy and work synergy. Second, we need to improve mechanisms for inspecting and evaluating rural revitalization. Concerted efforts will be taken to conduct performance evaluations on the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy and to carry out assessments on the coordinated efforts between expanding and consolidating poverty alleviation and rural revitalization. We should also make the promotion of rural revitalization through Party building a key part in evaluating the performance of Party secretaries at the five levels. Third, we need to establish a statistical monitoring system for rural revitalization. We should strengthen the statistical monitoring of rural revitalization, set up indicators and statistical systems that reflect the progress of rural revitalization in an objective manner, and conduct evaluations of the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy in a timely and scientific manner. Thank you.

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