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China to boost spending on welfare, medicare despite int´l financial turmoil

Source: Xinhua | 03-05-2009 10:27

Special Report:   Global Financial Crisis
Special Report:   2009 NPC & CPPCC Sessions

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government pledged on Thursday to increase spending on social programs including pension and medical reform in 2009 despite pressure from the international financial crisis.

"The more difficulties we face, the greater attention we should pay to ensuring people's well-being and promoting social harmony and stability," Premier Wen Jiabao said in a government work report to the annual session of the parliament that opens here Thursday.

The central government plans to spend 293 billion yuan (about 42.84 billion U.S. dollars) on the social safety net this year, up17.6 percent or 43.9 billion yuan over the estimated figure for last year, he said.

"Local governments will also increase funding in this area," hesaid.

The fund will help "expand coverage of social security programs" and "increase social security benefits" of the Chinese, according to the Premier.

The government will allocate an additional 850 billion yuan in the three years beginning on 2009, including 331.8 billion yuan from the central government, to ensure smooth progress in the reform of its medical and health care system.