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Farmers Better off by An Average 133 Yuan in 2006
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China's 900 million farmers were an average 133 yuan (US$17) better off this year after the government scrapped the agricultural tax.


Oyunqemag, vice chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), in a report Wednesday to China's top legislature on the implementation of agricultural laws, said farmers were relieved of a total tax burden of 120 billion yuan (US$15 billion).


She attributed the reduction in farmers' tax to the end of agricultural tax across the country in 2006.


She said the central government had invested 19 billion yuan (US$2.37 billion) in rural education and 8.7 billion yuan (US$1.08 billion) in health care this year.


Other benefits for farmers included 39.3 billion yuan (US$4.9 billion) in direct grain subsidies and other four subsidies.


The state also allocated 53 billion yuan (US$6.62 billion) from the central budget and treasury bonds to farming and village development.


In 2005, the government invested 81.2 billion yuan (US$10.15 billion) in basic farm construction, mainly in water conservancy and irrigation projects.


Financial institutions lent more to farmers and farming-related projects, with loans totaling 4.33 trillion yuan (US$541.25 billion) by June, 1.59 trillion yuan (US$199.02 billion) more than in 2003.


More than 70 million farmers had received loans by the end of 2005.


The amount of premiums for agricultural insurance increased by 89 percent and pay outs by 100 percent in 2005.


(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2006)


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