(2) Main expenditure items
On the basis of the decisions and arrangements of the central leadership, and following deliberation and approval by the NPC, the central government further increased investment in agriculture, education, medical and health care, social security, employment, low-income housing, culture, science, and technology, thereby ensuring spending on key items.
Education spending reached 324.86 billion yuan, 109.6% of the budgeted figure and an increase of 27.5%. This figure consists of 99.905 billion yuan of central government spending and 224.955 billion yuan in transfer payments to local governments. We spent 10.13 billion yuan to support the development of rural preschool education in the central and western regions and ethnic minority areas. A total of 85.91 billion yuan was used to improve the mechanism for guaranteeing the costs of rural compulsory education. Benchmark public funding per student per year for rural primary and secondary schools was increased by 100 yuan; all of the country's rural compulsory education students were exempted from tuition and miscellaneous fees and supplied with free textbooks; 12.28 million boarding school students from poor families received financial assistance; and 26 million students received subsidies for nutritious meals. We used 18.681 billion yuan to implement the plan for upgrading weak rural schools providing compulsory education. A total of 7.7 billion yuan was disbursed to exempt 29 million urban compulsory education students from tuition and miscellaneous fees and help 11.67 million children of rural migrant workers to receive compulsory education in cities. Altogether 13.398 billion yuan was spent to strengthen vocational education infrastructure and exempt 3.95 million secondary vocational school students who are from families with financial difficulties or studying agriculture-related majors from tuition. We appropriated 31.119 billion yuan to improve the policy system for providing financial aid to students from poor families, which benefited roughly 18.67 million students. We also spent 109.054 billion yuan to support the development of higher education.
Spending on science and technology came to 203.406 billion yuan, 104.6% of the budgeted figure and a 17.7% increase. This figure consists of 194.214 billion yuan of central government spending and 9.192 billion yuan in transfer payments to local governments. We spent 43.5 billion yuan to implement major state science and technology programs, 29.48 billion yuan to support Program 973 and other basic research, and 99.77 billion yuan to strengthen applied technology research. We started full-scale independent research and development (R&D) on major scientific research equipment to raise the country's level of R&D in this area. We strengthened scientific and technological infrastructure in localities to improve their research conditions.
Expenditure on culture, sports, and media totaled 41.588 billion yuan, 111.1% of the budgeted figure and an increase of 31.6%. This figure consists of 18.872 billion yuan of central government spending and 22.716 billion yuan in transfer payments to local governments. We supported free admission to 44,751 museums, memorial halls, and other public cultural facilities, and continued with efforts to extend radio and television reception and develop other key cultural programs that benefit the people. We strengthened protection of key cultural artifacts, major cultural and historical sites, cultural resources related to the early history of the CPC, and intangible cultural heritage, and increased the international broadcasting capability of key media. We also deepened reform of the cultural administration system, and stimulated development of the culture industry.
Spending on medical and health care amounted to 174.778 billion yuan, 101.2% of the budgeted figure and an increase of 17.7%. This figure consists of 7.132 billion yuan of central government spending and 167.646 billion yuan in transfer payments to local governments. We allocated 76.655 billion yuan to increase subsidies to the new rural cooperative medical care system and basic medical insurance for non-working urban residents from 120 yuan to 200 yuan per person per year. We spent 35.22 billion yuan in subsidies to fully implement the national system for basic drugs; deepen the comprehensive reform of community-level medical and health care institutions and clear their debts; raise per capita spending on basic public health services for urban and rural residents from 15 yuan to 25 yuan each year; and carry out major public health service programs. We disbursed 14.999 billion yuan to reform systems and mechanisms for managing public hospitals and help medical and health care institutions to improve their services. We also spent 11.483 billion yuan to increase medical assistance in both urban and rural areas.
Spending on social security and employment reached 471.577 billion yuan, 106.8% of the budgeted figure and an increase of 23.9%. This figure consists of 50.248 billion yuan of central government spending and 421.329 billion yuan in transfer payments to local governments. We allocated 19.6 billion yuan in subsidies to extend the new old-age insurance for rural and urban residents to over 60% of the country and provide pension benefits for participants aged 60 and over. We provided living allowances totaling 31.1 billion yuan to more than 86 million people with financial difficulties, including urban and rural subsistence allowance recipients as well as childless and infirm rural residents receiving guarantees of food, clothing, medical care, housing, and burial expenses. We earmarked 184.69 billion yuan in subsidies to the basic retirement pension fund for enterprise employees to support efforts to increase basic pensions of enterprise retirees, with monthly benefits reaching over 1,500 yuan per person on average; to improve the overall planning system for basic retirement pension funds of enterprise workers at the provincial level; and extend coverage to uninsured retirees of collectively owned enterprises. A total of 79.74 billion yuan in subsidies was used to put in place a mechanism to raise social assistance and social security benefits when consumer prices rise, to raise average monthly subsistence allowances for urban and rural recipients from 251 and 117 yuan to 278 and 135 yuan respectively, to increase subsistence allowances for orphans, to provide more subsidies to help beggars and the homeless, and to support development of a social security system and a service system for people with disabilities. We spent 23.688 billion yuan to provide subsidies and living allowances to entitled groups and increase subsidy and allowance standards as needed, and 8.64 billion yuan to ensure basic living conditions of disaster victims. We supported policy-backed closures and bankruptcies of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and made proper arrangements for their laid-off workers. We also disbursed 41.384 billion yuan to expand fiscal and tax policies to encourage and support business startups, implement various policies to support employment, and increase subsidies to help pay interest on guaranteed small loans.
Spending on guaranteeing housing was 172.063 billion yuan, 133.1% of the budgeted figure and an increase of 52.8%. This figure consists of 32.882 billion yuan of central government spending and 139.181 billion yuan in transfer payments to local governments. Spending to accelerate the construction of low-income housing projects was 143.257 billion yuan, and adding the 28 billion yuan carried over from allocations for previous years, total spending reached 171.257 billion yuan.
Spending on agriculture, forestry, and water conservancy amounted to 478.526 billion yuan, 104.3% of the budgeted figure and an increase of 23.3%. This figure consists of 41.657 billion yuan of central government spending and 436.869 billion yuan in transfer payments to local governments. We spent 139.878 billion yuan to strengthen agricultural and rural infrastructure. With this money, we built small irrigation and water conservancy facilities in 1,250 key counties, assisted 1,100 counties in preventing and responding to geological disasters due to mountain torrents, completed ahead of schedule all tasks of reinforcing dilapidated key small reservoirs, and harnessed 1,239 small and medium-sized rivers. We used 135.13 billion yuan to improve the dynamic mechanism for adjusting general subsidies for agricultural supplies and the policy of subsidies to help pay agricultural insurance premiums, consolidate the policy of subsidies for superior crop varieties, and further expand the scope of subsidies for the purchase of agricultural machinery. We allocated 16.3 billion yuan to promote wider application of agricultural technology and stimulate development of modern agriculture and specialized farmer cooperatives. We disbursed 23.012 billion yuan to upgrade 1.619 million hectares of low- and medium-yield cropland to high-yield standards, 13.6 billion yuan to establish a subsidy and award mechanism for grassland ecological conservation in major herding provincial-level administrative areas, and 31.41 billion yuan in subsidies to put in place a comprehensive fiscal policy system for poverty alleviation and support poverty relief efforts in contiguous areas with particular difficulties. We also earmarked 18.3 billion yuan to support the building of 340,000 village-level public works projects, the launching of which were determined by villagers themselves, and carry forward trials of paying off public service debts of villages and townships in an orderly manner.