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Eastern Province to Spend More on Poverty Relief

Eastern China's Jiangsu Province, one of the country's most developed provinces, has earmarked 240 million yuan (about 29 million US dollars) this year to foster infrastructure construction and economic development of its underdeveloped areas.

Under a poverty-relief program launched by the provincial government, the fund will be used to step up construction of traffic, telecommunication and irrigation facilities and build more schools and hospitals in needy counties and prefectures.

In 2003, the province spent 160 million yuan (about 19 million US dollars) building 841 classrooms and 837 kilometers of rural highways, providing daily necessities to 14,800 children in poverty and diverting 68,000 redundant rural laborers to non-agricultural sectors.

Meanwhile, financial institutions in Jiangsu Province provided small loans amounting to 62.5 million yuan (7.5 million US dollars)to help needy farmers take up varied trades that range from raising livestock to the production of toys and artwork.

The province reported 1.2 trillion yuan (145 billion US dollars)of gross domestic product in 2003, according to Governor Liang Baohua.

By boosting reforms of state firms and industrialization of agriculture, Liang expects to increase the province's GDP by 10 percent to 1.32 trillion yuan (160 billion US dollars) this year.

(Xinhua News Agency  January 27, 2004)

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