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China needs $839b for social welfare by 2020
Updated: 2009-02-26 20:06

BEIJING -- A government think tank said China had to invest 5.74 trillion yuan (US$839.35 billion) by 2020 in constructing an all-round social welfare system to enhance people's livelihood.

Patients receive intravenous injections at a hospital in Beijing Wednesday January 7, 2009. [Agencies]

The figure is estimated in a report released Thursday by the China Development Research Foundation, an organization set up in 1997 by the Development Research Center of the State Council to support and promote policy consultation and academic research in China.

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The report said the country should increase funds to expand the social welfare system to cover all aspects including pension, education, health care, housing, employment and others across the nation by 2020. It could benefit the whole population, especially rural residents and migrant workers.

The report said the amount needed by 2020 includes 1.37 trillion yuan for pension security, 1.03 trillion yuan for health care, 1.96 trillion yuan for education, 700 billion yuan for housing, 120 billion yuan for employment, 270 billion yuan for minimum living standard security, and 280 billion yuan for people in need of special aids.

The paper also set goals for these aspects over the three years to 2012, which need 2.6 trillion yuan in total.

For example, 830 billion yuan is needed for pension, 450 billion yuan for health care, 750 billion yuan for education, 260 billion yuan for housing and 60 billion yuan for employment.

The foundation's chairman Wang Mengkui said the social welfare system should keep pace with the the country's economic development, which was essential to "solve the problem" of the imbalance between urban and rural areas and among regions and to benefit the whole population.

The paper said rapid economic development put China in a good position to establish an all-round social welfare system for its population.

The report recommends increasing the proportion of spending on social welfare in the fiscal revenue from the current 27 percent to 35 percent over the coming 12 years.

Fiscal revenue reached 6.13 trillion yuan last year, accounting for about 20 percent of 2008's gross domestic product, up from 11.7 percent in 1995.