Ten key figures in China's government work report 2014

                                        From: People's Daily Online Updated: 2014-03-21 14:47
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                                        Editor's Note: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivered the government work report during the opening meeting of the second session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 5 2014.

                                        The report consists of three parts: Review of Work in 2013, General Work Arrangements for 2014, and Major Tasks for 2014.

                                        The report points out the main targets the government has set for China's economic and social development this year: Increase GDP by about 7.5%, limit the rise in the CPI to around 3.5%, create ten million more urban jobs, ensure that the registered urban unemployment rate does not rise above 4.6%, achieve basic balance in international payments, and increase personal incomes in step with economic development. The government needs to make overall planning for and balance major targets, namely, economic growth, employment, prices and international payments.

                                        As the policy agenda for the first year of the government's comprehensively deepening reform program, the ten numbers in the report provide a useful indicator of the new trends in economic and social development in 2014.

                                        Figure 1: about 7.5%

                                        Original text from the report:

                                        On the basis of careful comparison and repeatedly weighing various factors as well as considering what is necessary and what is possible, we set a growth rate target of around 7.5%.

                                        This target is in keeping with our goal of completing a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and it will boost market confidence and promote economic structural adjustment. More importantly, stable growth ensures employment. We must meet the need to create new urban jobs and be able to provide opportunities for rural migrant workers who come to cities in search of work.

                                        Ultimately, stable growth will ensure that urban and rural incomes increase and people's lives improve. There are many positive factors that will help us to fulfill this year's target for economic growth, but to reach it, we must make arduous efforts.

                                        Comments:Liu Shucheng, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) member and deputy director of the Department of Economics, CASS.

                                        China's economy still faces downward pressure in 2014 - it is critical to keep a growth rate target of around 7.5% to stabilize social expectations. If we cut the economic growth target, investment and consumption will be affected, which would not be conductive to increasing investment in technological transformation and innovation, nor to improving standards of living and expanding consumption. Nor would it match with the ultimate goal of comprehensive deepening reform. If foreign demand improves, domestic demand ought to be able to achieve a GDP growth rate of around 7.5%.

                                        Figure 2: around 3.5%

                                        Original text from the report:

                                        We hope to limit the rise in the CPI to around 3.5%. This is based on consideration of both the carry-over effect of last year's price rises and likely inflationary factors this year. It also demonstrates our resolve and confidence to keep inflation under control and ensure people's wellbeing.

                                        China's agricultural output has increased for several years in a row; supply of manufactured goods on the whole exceeds demand; and we have substantial reserves of grain and other goods and materials. We are fully capable of adjusting supply and demand through import and export, and all these factors will help maintain basic stability in general prices. However, there are many factors driving up prices this year, so we must not lower our guard. We must keep prices under control to ensure that price increases do not exert a significant negative impact on people's lives.

                                        Comments:Li Yining, prominent economist and Emeritus Dean of Guanghua School of Management of Peking University

                                        To keep the rise in the CPI at around 3.5% is the bottom line; we have to go all out to keep the figure under control. This figure is determined on the basis of factors including China's structural industrial adjustment, and rising costs. Among these, one important factor is that prices of utilities such as water, electricity, and gas will be adjusted this year.

                                        Figure 3: create ten million more urban jobs

                                        Original text from the report:

                                        Create ten million more urban jobs; ensure that the registered urban unemployment rate does not rise above 4.6%. With 7.27 million college students graduating this year, we need to create more jobs, provide non-stop employment and business startup services, and increase the rate of employment and business startup for college graduates.

                                        We will increase support for urban residents who have difficulty finding jobs, ensure that at least one member in every zero-employment family gets a job, and do an effective job in resettling and providing reemployment to workers laid off due to the shutdown of outdated production facilities. We will provide coordinated employment services to rural migrant workers and demobilized service personnel. We will work hard to create more rewarding and higher quality jobs so that people who work can live a decent and dignified life.

                                        Comments:special researcher from the Councilor's Office of the State Council and former chief economist of the National Bureau of Statistics

                                        There are two bright spots worthy of our attention on this year's employment issue. First, giving more attention to college graduates, solving the structural problem, and conducting more active employment policies to allow them to find suitable jobs of their choice. Second, to ensure that at least one member in every family gets a job, which will be an important indicator of improving standards of living.

                                        Figure 4: 1.35 trillion yuan

                                        Original text from the report:

                                        The government budget deficit for this year is projected to be 1.35 trillion yuan, an increase of 150 billion yuan over last year. The projected government budget deficit consists of 950 billion yuan of central government deficit and 400 billion yuan of provincial-level government debt in the form of treasury bonds issued by the central government on the provincial governments' behalf. The government deficit and national debt are increasing along with the growth in the overall economy. However, the deficit rate will be kept at 2.1%, which demonstrates continuity of our fiscal policy.

                                        Comments:Zhu Baoliang, Director of the Economic Forecast Department of the State Information Center

                                        China's economy still faces downward pressure, and enterprises are still facing difficulties. Proactive fiscal policies are required to further promote structural tax cuts, reduce the burden on enterprises, and increase spending in people's livelihood. A stable deficit is conductive to minimising risk.

                                        Figure 5: grow by around 13%

                                        Original text from the report:

                                        We will pursue a balanced monetary policy, move toward a basic balance between overall supply and demand in society, and foster a stable monetary and financial environment. We will strengthen macro-prudential management to encourage an appropriate increase of monetary credit and nongovernmental financing. This year, M2 is forecast to grow by around 13%.

                                        Comments:Zhou Tianyong, deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies of the Central Party School

                                        To keep M2 growing by around 13% is the key point of macro-control of monetary policy. On the one hand, prudent monetary policy cannot permit excessive fluctuations; on the other hand, it will be conducive to growing employment and price stability. Without mobility in the monetary supply, investment, employment, and industrial operations may be affected.

                                        Figure 6: 200 plus items

                                        Original text from the report:

                                        We will deepen reform of the administrative system.

                                        We will further streamline administration and delegate more power to lower-level governments. This is a revolution the government imposes on itself. This year, we will cancel or delegate to lower-level governments an additional 200 plus items previously requiring State Council review and approval.

                                        We will bolster reform of the investment approval system, abolish or simplify preliminary review and approval procedures, give businesses full power over their investment decisions, and make it easy to make investments and start businesses.

                                        We will introduce a system to list all items over which government review and approval are required and release the list to the public. No items not on the list will be subject to government review and approval. We will also comprehensively reorganize items requiring nongovernmental review and approval.

                                        Comments:Wei Jianguo, vice chairman and secretary general of China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE)

                                        Government approval matters and reform should also involve exclusive lists to let the public know what the government should and should not be doing. In this way, there will be a positive move in the decentralization and transformation of government functions.

                                        Figure 7: three "100 million people" tasks

                                        Original text from the report:

                                        For some time to come, we will focus on three tasks, each concerning 100 million people: granting urban residency to around 100 million rural people who have moved to cities, rebuilding rundown city areas and villages inside cities where around 100 million people live, and guiding the urbanization of around 100 million rural residents of the central and western regions in local cities.

                                        Comments:Wang Tongsan, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) member and former director of Institute of Quantitative & Technical Economics, CASS

                                        The three "100 million people" is directed towards three people-oriented targets. The first refers to rural people who already live and work in cities; we should grant them urban residency. The second refers to those who live in poor conditions; we should rebuild rundown areas and villages inside cities. The third refers to rural residents, especially rural residents of the central and western regions; we should guide locally-based urbanization there, and promote a balanced development in the national program of urbanization.

                                        Figure 8: increased by more than 10%

                                        Original text from the report:

                                        We will give high priority to developing education and making it more equitable.

                                        We will continue to allocate more education resources to the central and western regions and rural areas and promote the balanced development of compulsory education. We will comprehensively improve conditions in poorly-built and badly-run schools providing compulsory education in poor areas. The number of rural students from poor areas enrolled in key colleges and universities will again be increased by more than 10%, and this will give rural children greater opportunities to receive higher education.

                                        Comments:Zeng Tianshan, Vice Dean of Chinese Academy of Educational Sciences

                                        Promoting equitable development of education is the main theme of the government's education policy. In future program design we should first consider compensating for weakness and promoting overall design of equitable education program, focusing on rural education development, and stabilizing the rural education system.

                                        Next, we should implement market mechanisms and differentiated policies. For example, policies on compulsory education, secondary vocational education, and preschool education can be flexible; they do not have to rely on the public system.

                                        Figure 10: more than 3.9%

                                        Original text from the report:

                                        We will change the way energy is produced and consumed.

                                        We will strengthen energy conservation and emissions reduction and impose a ceiling on total energy consumption. This year, we aim to cut energy intensity by more than 3.9%. Emissions of sulfur dioxide, and chemical oxygen demand will both be reduced by 2%.

                                        We will continue to raise the proportion of electricity generated by non-fossil fuel, develop smart grids and promote balanced distribution of energy resources, encourage the development of wind and solar power and biomass energy, and start construction of a number of hydropower and nuclear power projects. We will strengthen exploration, exploitation and utilization of natural gas, coal seam gas and shale gas.

                                        We will reform pricing of utilities and establish a sound system of tiered pricing for household water and gas consumption.

                                        Comments:Wang Rusong, academician of China Academy of Engineering

                                        China has already taken a variety of measures to control pollution and smog - why are the results still unsatisfactory? The report has highlighted energy conservation and ecological protection, "we must resolve to take forceful measures to complete this challenging task", which offers a ray of hope to the public.

                                        We should break the regional limit of pollution control and muster nationwide efforts to implement carbon emissions trading rights and reduce pollution through market-based instruments. By doing so, we may provide "breathing space" for "smoggy China".

                                        The article is edited and translated from《政府工作报告10大关键数字(2014全国两会)》, source: People's Daily Overseas Edition.

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