With the establishment of a socialist market economic system in China, the government will no longer play a major role in the allocation of resources, said an economist who is attending the on-going fourth session of the Ninth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in the national capital.
Zhang Zhuoyuan, a member of the Ninth CPPCC National Committee, said that among the government's changed functions is one to maintain macro-economic stability and create a fair competition environment.
Zhang said the draft of the Outline of the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2001-2005) for National Economic and Social Development, submitted for approval by the Fourth Session of the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC), which opened in Beijing Monday morning, has fully reflected the changes of the government's functions and the role of the market.
Zhang participated in the drafting of the outline.
Some deputies to the Ninth NPC and members of the Ninth CPPCC National Committee who are in Beijing attending their respective annual sessions talked about their impression of the outline: guiding indices take the place of directive plans; the government will no longer supervise all matters, but focus its attention on working out development strategies and plans.
Some NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members from the economic circles commented that the number of indices of the tenth Five-Year Plan has been reduced to 39 from the 105 of the ninth Five-Year Plan.
The new five-year plan stresses market requirements and attaches greater importance to the quality and efficiency of economic development, they said.
These changes fully mirror the main theme of China's economic development, they said, adding that more than one-third of the indices listed in the new five-year plan are closely related to people's lives, demonstrating that improving people's living standard is the primary goal of China's economic development.
Cao Cewen, a deputy to the Ninth NPC, said that the new five-year plan shows and reflects the characteristics and requirements of a socialist market economy, and displays China's determination to brave the challenges of economic globalization.
It is a basic means of the Chinese government to exert macro-controls over economic and social development by enacting five-year plans. China has worked out and implemented nine five-year plans since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
The first five five-year plans were made during a period during which China adopted a planned economic system, and the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth five-year plans were carried out in a transitional period when China goes from central planning to a market economic system.
Economists pointed out it is still necessary for China to make new five-year plans and development strategies to narrow the gap with developed countries.
Some people called the 10th five-year plan a "dividing line" in the history of China's five-year plans.
A new feature of the 10th five-year plan is that great prominence is given to three fields: first, fields where the government is to play a major role, such as social security, infrastructure construction, public services, development of science and technology, education and environmental protection; second, fields which have a great bearing on current and long-term development of China, such as expanding employment opportunities, human resources development and a sustainable utilization of water resources; and third, new areas and new fields, such as extensive application of information technology, developing China's west and urbanization.