No. 1 Central Document energizes rural, farming reforms

By Rabi Sankar Bosu
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, February 28, 2019
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A farmer arranges rice at a rice field in Yilaxi township of Yongji county, northeast China's Jilin province, Sept 17, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

There is an old Chinese saying that, "Agriculture is the foundation of human society." Like India, a large farming community in China plays a pivotal role in developing the nation. 

In recent years, China's central authorities have attached unprecedented importance to agricultural modernization as essential to economic development and overall social stability in a country with a population of nearly 1.4 billion people. 

At present, it is steadily and confidently marching towards its dream – the "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," aiming to become a moderately well-off society by 2020. It is heartening to see that the CPC Central Committee and the State Council released a fresh package of policies through the annual "No. 1 Central Document" on February 19. This marks the 16th consecutive year in which agriculture, the countryside and farmer-related issues have been listed as top priorities for rural revitalization.

The 2019 No.1 Central Document is consistent with this vision, giving fresh heart to the farmers as they can achieve a better life while the country speeds up the modernization of agriculture and the rural areas in general.

Since this year and the next will be a decisive period for meeting the 2020 target for a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the document pledges to ensure agriculture becomes a promising industry, farming an attractive occupation, and rural areas beautiful places to live and work. 

"The country should consolidate the sound momentum for agricultural and rural development, capitalize on the role of agriculture, rural areas and rural people as the foundation stone, and win the upper hand in effectively handling risks and challenges," the document declares.

As China pushes ahead with its 40-year-old program of reform and opening up, the 2019 document provides a comprehensive roadmap for this to be achieved through focusing heavily on rural revitalization, including ensuring food production with an aim to alleviate rural poverty, as the Chinese Dream cannot be achieved without realizing the dreams of the Chinese farmers who still make up over 40 percent of China's population.

Aerial photo taken on Feb. 25, 2019 shows staff members working in a field of Lixiahe area in Yangzhou, east China's Jiangsu province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Han Jun, deputy director of the Central Leading Group Office for Rural Work, has stated: "A lot of targets need to be met in 2020, but challenges remain in agriculture and in further revitalizing rural areas. The development of these areas has a lot of work to do to catch up." Hence, the document emphasizes the need to improve the social status of farmers by establishing a sustainable and innovative industrial structure.

Although China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, the development of agriculture, farmers, and rural areas is still unbalanced. Official figures reported by China Daily suggest that 3.3 million hectares of farmland in China have been contaminated with heavy metals, and nearly 200 million rural residents have no access to safe drinking water. Therefore, China will pay greater attention to resource and environmental protection in order to create a beautiful country.

It's a fact that a development gap remains between urban and rural areas, especially between the eastern coastal cities and more rural inland regions. In order to tackle "unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life," the announced strategy is a vital catalyst.

Certainly, China has come up with many innovative and effective practices in targeted poverty alleviation in rural sectors. In the course of realizing the "Two Centenary Goals" and the Chinese Dream of rejuvenating the nation, much has been achieved through the industrialization process, increasing the wages of both rural and urban Chinese citizens, as well as through the great strides made in developing social programs like compulsory education and access to health care. Thanks to Internet technology, nearly 600 million farmers now enjoy online shopping.

It is heartening to see that this year's document emphasizing that "China will strive to ensure effective supply of major agricultural products. Efforts will be made to ensure that grain planting area remains steady at 1.65 billion mu (110 million hectares) and arable land area is kept above 1.8 billion mu, as well as in developing 800 million mu of high-standard farmland by 2020." 

Surely, this assurance from the Chinese government will boost hundreds of millions of farmers' confidence in their future life with thriving businesses, pleasant living environments, social etiquette and civility, effective governance, and prosperity.

Rabi Sankar Bosu, Secretary of New Horizon Radio Listeners' Club, West Bengal, India

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