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Problems identified and solutions provided on rural development
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The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council jointly released the year's No. 1 central government document aiming to set up a permanent mechanism that can close the urban-rural development gap.

Chen Xiwen, director of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Rural Work, described the document as "high-profile" and "with clear-cut subject" at a press conference of the State Council on Thursday in Beijing.

The following are the new problems he identified facing rural China after the country has pushed forward the economic reform for 30 years:

-- The country needs a permanent mechanism of industry promoting agriculture and urban areas helping rural areas. Agriculture remains the weakest link in national economy. A new pattern that can integrate the economic and social development in urban and rural China must be formed;

-- Growing resources and environmental restrictions will continue to dampen agricultural development while increasing pressure from the international market may aggravate the tight balance between domestic supply and demand of agricultural products;

--Inadequate investment in infrastructure construction, limited job opportunities for farmers, outdated rural social administration and public services in rural areas are still impeding the development of agricultural and rural economy;

-- Reduction of arable land, lack of fresh water resources, inadequate support of finance and technology and aging water conservancy facilities restrict the stable development of agriculture.


-- Expand the budget for agriculture, the governmental investment in rural infrastructure and governmental land-use fee allocated to rural areas;

-- Plough back the revenues from till-land occupation tax and city maintenance fee into agriculture and rural economy;

-- Increase the projects benefiting public welfare and biological environment in the most poverty-stricken counties;

-- Increase direct subsidies for cereal crops cultivation, purchasing of quality seeds, farm tools and other productive materials;

-- Forming a pattern to increase agricultural efficiency and farmers' incomes;

-- Vigorously ramp up oil production, encourage cotton and sugar production, guarantee staple food production including meat, poultry, eggs, milk and vegetables to ease short supply of agricultural products;

-- Reinforce agriculture standardization and guarantee safety of agricultural products, prop up agricultural industrialization, strengthen and improve controls on the agricultural market;

-- Prioritize water control in rural infrastructure construction, including supporting water conservancy projects on small farmland, encouraging water-saving irrigation, restoring crumbling reservoirs, intensifying farmland protection and soil amelioration, strengthening ecological rehabilitation and stepping up agricultural mechanization;

-- Continue to improve rural compulsory education, improve new rural cooperative medical systems, improve the minimum rural living allowance and improve rural poverty alleviation standards;

-- Uphold the basic system for rural operations, deepen rural reform and set up primary Party organizations in rural areas, especially to fully guarantee land rights to farmers, urge the reforms of the township institutions and the fiscal management system at county and township levels, advance the reform of the system of collective forest rights, renovate rural financial system, properly settle debts in rural areas.

-- Enforce the legal rights of migrant workers, form an equal employment system for rural and urban labors and explore approaches for the farmers who have a stable job and residence in cities to gain a status as a city resident, establish the mechanisms of regular pay increase and pay guarantee, and enhance their employment, social security, housing and their children's education.

(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)

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