The trial reform of rural taxes and administrative charges reduced the burden on farmers by over 30 percent on average in 2003, said Minister of Finance Jin Renqing at the Second Session of the Tenth National People's Congress Saturday.
The central government earmarked a total of 30.5 billion yuan in 2003 to support the above reform, the minister said in a report on the implementation of the central and local budgets for 2003 and on the draft central and local budgets for 2004.
Thanks to the government effort to accelerate the pace of repealing the tax on special agricultural products on a trial basis, the tax was by and large rescinded in a dozen provinces and municipalities directly under the central government, including Beijing, Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Sichuan, Henan, Shanghai and Tianjin.
The trial of providing subsidies directly to grain producers was implemented in the provinces of Anhui, Jilin, Hunan, Hubei, Henan, Liaoning, Hebei and Jiangxi and in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The trial promoted the reform of grain enterprises, and also won the heartfelt support of farmers in trial areas and boosted their enthusiasm for grain production, said the minister.
The government also allocated 10.8 billion yuan in 2003 to help various localities combat natural disasters, provide disaster relief and fund reconstruction after disasters, and 167 million people in disaster-afflicted areas received timely government relief, he said.
In 2003, the central government allocated 44 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 13.9 percent, to support progress in agricultural science and technology, develop the quality and safety system for agricultural products, fund comprehensive agricultural development and promote development-oriented programs for alleviating rural poverty.
Expenditures on education, health and culture was also raised by 6.7 billion yuan, mainly going to rural areas to promote the development of social undertakings there, said Jin.
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2004)