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China to increase investment in rural areas by more than 100 bln yuan
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China's central government will increase its budget for investment in rural areas by more than 100 billion yuan (13.9 billion U.S. dollars) this year, an official in charge of the country's rural work said on Thursday.

The total government investment will be more than 520 billion yuan in 2008, based on an investment of 420 billion yuan decided last year. It will cover the construction of infrastructure projects in water, gas and electricity, as well as in agricultural technology, among others.

Also covered are investments in education and medical services and subsidies for low-income families.

However, the final budget will be decided at the country's national congress to be convened early in March, said Chen Xiwen, director of the office of the central leading group on rural work, at a press conference held here.

The increased budget for rural areas from the central government was 80 billion yuan in 2007, already a historical record-high increase, according to Chen.

(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)

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