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Full Text: Report on the Work of the Government
Posted: March-19-2008Adjust font size:

6. Paying closer attention to social development to ensure the wellbeing of the people and improve their lives.

We will continue to give priority to developing education.

First, we will make free compulsory education universally available in both urban and rural areas. We will continue increasing regular expenditures for rural compulsory education and raise the level of budgetary allocations. We will appropriately increase living allowances for poor rural students residing on campus. We will take steps to ensure that children from poor families and children of rural migrant workers in cities enjoy the same access to compulsory education as others. After running trials in selected areas, we will completely stop collecting tuition and miscellaneous fees from all urban students receiving compulsory education starting this fall. This is another major measure for promoting balanced development of compulsory education and equal access to education.

Second, we must vigorously develop vocational education. We will strengthen the basic conditions for vocational education and deepen reform of the systems for administering, running and investing in vocational education programs in order to turn out high-quality skilled personnel.

Third, we must raise the quality of higher education. We will improve the structure of academic disciplines and develop high-quality universities and key disciplines. Regular institutions of higher learning will continue to favor students in the central and western regions in expanding their enrollments. To successfully provide education of various kinds and at different levels, we must focus on the following three tasks. One, we must ensure that all students receive a well-rounded education, and promote educational reforms and innovations. We will deepen the reform of curricula, methods of instruction, the systems of examination and enrollment, and the system for evaluating educational quality, and lighten the study load of primary and secondary school students. Two, we must improve the quality of teachers, especially in rural areas, and improve and implement the system of wages, allowances and subsidies for teachers. Three, we must increase investment in education. This year, central government allocation for education will increase from last year's total of 107.6 billion yuan to 156.2 billion yuan, and local governments will also increase their spending. We will further standardize the collection of education-related fees. We will standardize nonpublic education programs and encourage their development. China cannot modernize if education is not made universally available and if its quality is not improved. We must ensure that our children receive a good education, provide education that satisfies the needs of the people and improve the overall quality of the population.

We will promote the reform and development of health care. Efforts will be focused on four areas:

First, we will accelerate the establishment of a system to ensure access to medical care for both urban and rural residents. We will expand the number of urban workers covered by basic medical insurance, and extend the trial of basic medical insurance for urban residents to over 50% of China's cities. We will fully implement the new type of rural cooperative medical care system in all rural areas. Within two years, we will raise the standard for financing from 50 yuan to 100 yuan per person per year, with central and local government contributions to be raised from 40 yuan to 80 yuan per person. We will improve the urban and rural assistance program for medical care.

Second, we will improve the public health service system. We will prevent and treat major diseases, implement policies and measures to increase the number of diseases covered in the state plan for immunization against communicable diseases, and provide free treatment for more people suffering from diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and schistosomiasis. We need to work harder to prevent and treat endemic, occupational and mental diseases. We must do a good job in work related to the health of women and children. We will implement a policy of granting allowances to rural women in the central and western regions giving birth in hospitals. We will improve the mechanism for ensuring adequate funding for public health services.

Third, we will continue development of the medical service systems for urban and rural areas. We will focus on improving the county, township, village three-tier rural health service network and the urban community-based medical and health service system. We will train more general practitioners, nurses and rural doctors and encourage high-caliber health workers to work in village and community clinics. Trial reform of public hospitals will be carried out. Measures will be formulated and implemented to support the development of traditional Chinese medicine and the folk medicines of ethnic minorities.

Fourth, we will set up a national system for basic drugs and a system for ensuring drug supply to ensure the quality and adequate supply of basic drugs and hold down prices. This year the central government will allocate 83.2 billion yuan to support the reform and development of health care, an increase of 16.7 billion yuan over last year, with the focus of spending on facilities at the urban community and village level.

Last year the State Council commissioned a study of the issue of how to deepen reform of the system of pharmaceuticals and health care. A preliminary plan has been produced and will soon be publicized to solicit opinions from the general public. The basic goal of the reform is to maintain the public service nature of public medical and health care services and set up a basic medical and health care system to provide people with basic medical and health care services that are safe, effective, convenient and affordable. We must resolutely carry out this reform to provide everyone with access to basic medical and health services and improve their health.

We will improve work related to population and family planning.

We will adhere to the current policy of family planning, keep the birthrate low, improve the health of newborns and adopt a full range of measures to address the gender imbalance in babies. We will fully implement the special assistance system for families that comply with family planning regulations, extend the coverage of the reward system for rural families that comply with the regulations, implement the "lower birthrate equals faster prosperity" project in more areas, and raise the level of rewards and assistance. We will improve services for the floating population and tighten supervision of them to ensure that they comply with the family planning policy.

We will attach great importance to programs for the elderly, effectively protect the rights and interests of women and minors, and show concern for people with physical and mental disabilities and support programs benefiting them.

We will strive to expand employment.

We will strictly enforce the Employment Promotion Law and the Labor Contract Law. We will continue to follow a vigorous employment policy, adhere to the principle of expanding employment by encouraging business startups, strengthen job training and training in how to start a business, encourage people to find jobs on their own or start their own businesses, and support the establishment of small enterprises. We will speed up development of a human resources market with uniform standards for both urban and rural areas, improve the public employment service system, and promote the creation of an employment system that treats urban and rural workers equally. We will strengthen job placement guidance and services for college graduates. We will deepen reform of the job-placement system for people leaving military service. We will improve the aid system for job seekers, carry out policies to find more jobs for people with physical and mental disabilities, and create a permanent mechanism to help zero-employment families find jobs. We will urge all types of enterprises to sign labor contracts with their employees in accordance with the law and abide by them. We will improve the handling of labor disputes and oversight for worker protection measures and severely punish illegal employment practices. Providing adequate employment opportunities in China, which has the largest population in the world, is a daunting challenge. We must redouble our efforts to increase employment, a matter that is crucial to people's wellbeing.

We will increase urban and rural incomes.

The key is to adjust the distribution of the national income, deepen reform of the income distribution system, gradually raise the proportion of the national income received by individuals and raise labor's of the primary distribution of income.

First, we will increase rural incomes through a variety of channels, ensure that rural migrant workers in cities get paid in full and on time, and appropriately increase allowances for the poor population.

Second, we will raise the wage scale for enterprise employees and create a mechanism to ensure they get regular wage increases and ensure that they are paid regularly. We will urge enterprises to establish a system for collective bargaining for wages, improve the system of wage guidelines, and improve and comply with the minimum wage system. We will reform the method of supervising SOE payroll and strengthen oversight of wages paid by enterprises in monopoly industries.

Third, we will raise the level of basic old-age benefits for retirees from enterprises every year for three years beginning January 1 this year.

Fourth, we will deepen reform of the salary system for civil servants and continue efforts to standardize their subsidies and allowances. We will accelerate reform of the income distribution system in government-affiliated institutions.

Fifth, we will institute a system of annual paid vacations for employees. In addition, we will further improve consumption policies, broaden the range of services available in the market, stabilize consumer expectations and increase immediate consumption. Only by appropriately spreading the fruits of economic development among the people can we win their support and maintain social harmony and stability.

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Source:Editor: Lydia
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