The Chinese government Sunday promulgated its first policy document for 2010, calling for greater efforts to coordinate development between urban and rural areas, which was, the document said, the fundamental requirement of building a moderately prosperous society.
Expanding rural demand should be the key measure in boosting domestic demand, and developing modern agriculture should be considered as a major task in transforming China's economic growth pattern, it said.
The first policy document, issued by the central committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, the Cabinet, is the No. 1 central document. This is the seventh consecutive year the document has focused on rural problems.
The six former documents were as follows:
--- The No. 1 central document issued on Feb. 1, 2009, took "achieving steady agricultural development and sustained income increases for farmers" as its theme.
The document highlighted challenges posed by the global downturn to agricultural and rural development: "The biggest potential for boosting domestic demand lies in rural areas; the foundation for securing steady and relative fast economic growth is based upon agriculture; the toughest work of securing and improving people's livelihoods stays with farmers."
In the document, the government urged authorities to take resolute measures to avoid declining grain production and to ensure the steady expansion of agriculture and rural stability.
--- The No. 1 central document issued on Jan. 30, 2008, took "fortifying the foundation of agriculture" as its theme.
The document ordered the rapid development of an enduring mechanism for consolidating the foundation of agriculture and more efforts to guarantee grain product safety and a balance between supply and demand, and between various grain products.
To achieve the goals, great efforts should be made to enhance rural infrastructure, strengthen the role of agricultural science and technology in boosting rural development, gradually improve the level of rural public service and keep the basic rural economic mechanism stable and perfected, said the document.
The document also stipulated that "any increased spending on agriculture this year should be clearly higher than last year, the increase in fixed-asset investment in rural areas should exceed the year-earlier level and farm subsidies should be raised."
--- The No. 1 central document issued on Jan. 29, 2007, had "developing modern agriculture and steadily promoting the construction of a new socialist countryside" as its theme.
It said, "developing modern agriculture is the Chinese government's top priority in building a new socialist countryside, and has proven to be the basic channel through which farmers' incomes can be increased."
Modern equipment, science and technology, industrial systems, management and development ideas should be nurtured to improve the quality, economic returns and competitiveness of agriculture.
The document also advocated the establishment of a mechanism to secure stable sources of capital from both government and financial institutions.
"Most of the fixed-assets investment and money earmarked for education, public health and culture this year should go to rural areas," said the document. "Local governments should also channel more money raised from selling land use rights to the countryside."
--- The No. 1 central document issued on Feb. 21, 2006, took "constructing a new socialist countryside" as its theme.
The document said "constructing a new socialist countryside is an important historic task in the process of China's modernization."
The document stressed the importance of rural issues, saying the resolution to rural issues was of great significance and difficulty in the process of China's industrialization and urbanization.
Constructing a new socialist countryside was the foremost task facing China in the 2006-2010 five-year period, said the document.
To achieve the goals, China must step up efforts in coordinating the development of urban and rural areas, developing modern agriculture, boosting farmers' incomes, enhancing rural infrastructure, promoting social causes in rural areas and deepening rural reforms, it said.
--- The No. 1 central document issued on Jan. 30, 2005, took "strengthening rural work and improving the overall production capacity of agriculture" as its theme.
Agriculture remained a weak link in the national economy and was plagued with a lack of investment, a fragile foundation and lack of a long-term mechanism aimed at boosting grain output and farmers' incomes.
To solve the problems, China should bring into full play the farmers and local governments' initiatives of increasing grain production. The document included 27 detailed substantial measures to ensure financial, governmental and technological support for the agriculture sector with an aim to improve agricultural production capacity.
--- The No. 1 central document issued Feb. 8, 2004, took "boosting farmers' incomes" as its theme.
The document said, "Among the many problems facing agricultural and rural development, the difficulty of increasing farmers' incomes is the most prominent."
The document prescribed a number of measures, stressing raising farmer's incomes was a significant issue both economically and politically and raising agricultural incomes was key to maintaining China's economic growth. The measures included adjusting agricultural structure, increasing jobs for farmers, enhancing rural investment, deepening rural reform, and quickening agriculture-related science and technology.