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Shanghai to Focus on Jobs, Health Care Issues

Shanghai vowed Wednesday to create 500,000 jobs this year, a fifth of which will go to underemployed local farmers, according to Jiao Yang, spokeswoman for the Shanghai municipal government.


Job creation is one of the city's top 10 tasks of the year.


"When deciding the tasks this year, the municipality focuses on urgent issues about which people are mostly concerned, especially in terms of administration of the city, work safety and so on," she said.


Although Shanghai-area farmers are on the whole the most prosperous in the nation, with per capita disposable income of 7,337 yuan (US$887) last year, rural households living off the land alone are in need of help.


The city government plans to lend some of them money to start small businesses or help others to find non-farming jobs.


To this end, it is launching a three-year plan to offer vocational training to farmers in sectors like the building trade. This year, 50,000 farmers will be able to sign up for training.


Senior citizens will also get attention from the government in the new year.


They are to be given priority in hospital queues and given discounts in parks and other venues. The government will also provide home visit services to the 160,000 senior citizens who live alone and the 30,000 senior citizens with special needs.


The city will add another 6,000 beds to the existing 40,000 in rest homes.


Shanghai will also set up more neighborhood advice centers to help people handle medical insurance issues. Twenty-four rural hospitals will be reorganized to standardize their practices.


Training and exercise programs will be organized for up to 10,000 disabled people.


The city will open more bus lanes and set up a traffic guidance system on downtown viaducts to ease road congestion.


Forty old residential complexes will be renovated and 3 million square meters of apartments will be constructed.


Jiao also said the city's tasks include other issues such as setting up regulated vegetable markets and monitoring major polluting enterprises online.


(China Daily January 13, 2005)

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