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Central Budget Increases Investment in Farming to $37 Bln

China's central treasury allocated 297.5 billion yuan (US$37.2 billion) to facilitate farming and rural development and raise farmers' income last year, up 13.3 percent from 2004, said Finance Minister Jin Renqing on Tuesday.

Of the investment, 66.2 billion yuan (US$8.3 billion) was transfer payment to support the rural taxation reform, cutting 22 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) in agricultural tax.

The central and local budgets paid 13.2 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion) in subsidies to 642 million farmers cultivating grain in 30 provinces and autonomous regions across the country, said Jin when reporting to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Some 98.9 billion yuan (US$12.3 billion) from the state coffers was used to improve rural infrastructure and another 2.7 billion yuan (US$33.8 million) on free textbooks to 34 million poor rural students in underdeveloped central and western regions.

Another 6.9 billion yuan (US$86.3 million) went to compulsory education, dilapidated rural schools, education in rural primary and secondary schools and rural labor force training.

Thirteen billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) was put into poverty reduction.

(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2006)

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