More government funds were allocated to solve problems related to employment, social security and social undertakings in 2003, Minister of Finance Jin Renqing said Saturday at the annual session of the national legislature.
Last year, a special fund of 4.7 billion yuan was established in the central budget for transfer payments to support reemployment programs, and efforts were stepped up to ensure that living allowances for workers laid off from state-owned enterprises and basic old-age pensions for retirees from the same enterprises were both paid on time and in full, and low-income urban residents received their subsistence allowances.
The central government allotted 60.8 billion yuan to guarantee the payment of living allowances and basic old-age pensions, 13.1 percent more than the previous year, and 9.2 billion yuan to help pay subsistence allowances, double the sum for 2002.
According to the minister, the central government began making annual allocation of 1.5 billion yuan in 2003 for a special fund to help local authorities solve problems in people's lives, especially ex-serviceman working in some enterprises.
To solve the long-standing problem of obligating relevant authorities to provide old-age insurance for employees of land reclamation enterprises, the central government allocated 730 million yuan in subsidies to the central and western regions and the land reclamation zones under its jurisdiction.
The year 2003 saw significant increase in investment in social undertakings, when a total of 85.5 billion yuan was spent from the central budget on education, health, science and technology, culture and sports, 9.4 billion yuan or 12.4 percent more than the previous year.
A special investment of 2 billion yuan was made to continue the renovation of dangerous primary and secondary school buildings in rural areas. Two billion yuan was allocated for the State Natural Sciences Fund, 800 million yuan for key state basic research programs, 4.5 billion yuan for the state's March 1986 Hi-tech Program, and 3.3 billion yuan for the knowledge innovation pilot program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said Jin.
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2004)