Business / Macro

China to grant urban residency to 100 million

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-03-05 20:44

BEIJING -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced a bold plan on Wednesday to turn more rural people into city dwellers and improve their quality of life.

Urbanization is the sure route to modernization and an important basis for integrating the urban and rural structures, Li said in a government work report delivered at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress.

China to grant urban residency to 100 million

GDP growth target for 2014 set at 7.5 percent

China to grant urban residency to 100 million

Five Key Points to improving people's lives

China will grant urban residency to around 100 million rural people who have moved to cities, rebuild rundown city areas and villages inside cities that are home to 100 million people, and guide the urbanization of around 100 million rural residents of the central and western regions in cities there, Li said.

The report did not specify a timeframe for the targets.

Nearly half of China's population of 1.3 billion people live rurally. China hopes to increase urbanization to boost consumer spending and ensure sustainable economic growth.

Meanwhile, however, its residency registration system has been hindering the urbanization process in that it restricts access to medical insurance, education and other benefits for hundreds of millions of migrants who have moved to cities over recent decades in search of better incomes.

The government will reform the household registration system and progressively grant urban residency to rural migrant workers and their families who are both willing and able to stay in cities and towns where they have had jobs or done business for a long time, according to the report.

Premier Li's address brought good news to people like Yang Guilin, a member of hospital nursing staff in Shanghai.

Yang, 44, a migrant from central China's Henan province, has worked in Shanghai for 17 years and is yet to get urban residency. She has not been able to enjoy medical insurance in Shanghai, nor could she bring her son and daughter for schooling in the metropolis.

"My only hope is that my children can truly become city dwellers in the future," she said.

China will also introduce a residence permit system for rural people in urban areas who have not yet gained urban residency, according to the report.

Under its proposals, more children of rural migrant workers living with their parents in cities will be entitled to go to school there, including secondary school and college, and the government will provide vocational skills training to rural migrant workers.

Li said the government will steadily extend basic public services to fully cover the permanent population of cities and towns, including the rural people who live in them.

The government will also explore ways to share costs associated with granting residency to rural people who have moved to cities and diversify investment and financing for urban development, according to the report.

As big cities are already too crowded and are under great pressure to provide additional public services to new residents, the government plans to encourage rural migrant workers in the central and western regions to find employment in local cities and towns.

One major aspect of that is speeding up the development of infrastructure and industries in these areas to attract rural migrant workers to settle down there, according to the report.

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