Full Coverages>China>2006 NPC & CPPCC>Quotations

'Involve farmers in rural spending'
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-09 06:09

Farmers should have more say in the use of massive amounts of funds allocated for rural revival, a top planner said yesterday.

The land acquisition system must also be reformed so that the interests of rural residents are better protected, said Vice-Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission Du Ying.

It will be much better if the process of fund use is open, and farmers have the right to know, supervise, and make decisions, Du said.

He was speaking at a press briefing on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress, where senior officials explained how a "new socialist countryside" would be built through a huge increase in budgetary support and warned that corruption will not be tolerated.

"The requisition and acquisition of farmland at low prices is hurting farmers' interests, which shows our current rural land requisition system has not adjusted to the demands of the times there must be reform," Du said.

He revealed some departments have been conducting "in-depth research" in recent years on a reform plan.

The basic guideline is to distinguish the purposes of land requisition and acquisition. If the land is taken for public purposes, the compensation levels must be raised; if it is for commercial development, "market mechanisms" must come into play, he said.

The unprecedented spending on rural development must not be dented by corruption, said Vice-Minister of Finance Zhu Zhigang.

"The funds are, in fact, taxpayers' money, which represent the public interest. Any misuse or embezzlement will constitute an infringement on public interest," he said, warning that such practices would be severely dealt with.

The vice-minister said the central budget plans to apportion 339.7 billion yuan (US$41.9 billion) to the rural sector this year, up by 14.2 per cent from 2005. "It means more than one-fifth of the country's increased expenditure (for 2006) will go to the countryside," he said.

The building of a co-operative medicare system in the countryside will get an extra 4.7 billion yuan (US$579.5 million) seven times as much as in last year and another 42.7 billion yuan (US$5.27 billion) will be earmarked for rural infrastructure.

While increased investment will help fuel rural development, the protection of rural resources is also important, said Vice-Minister of Agriculture Yin Chengjie.

Industrialization and urbanization have each year eaten up at least 266,700 hectares of rural land half of them arable land, meaning at least 1 million farmers lose their source of livelihood, Yin said.

He reiterated that the country would implement the "strictest farmland protection measures."

(China Daily 03/09/2006 page11)

  Story Tools