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China raises machinery subsidies to help farmers
Updated: 2008-12-11 21:19

China's State Council, or cabinet, said on Thursday that the central government would allocate 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion) in subsidies for agricultural machinery purchases next year to help farmers and returning migrants.

At an executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, the council said that "to provide such subsidy could raise the country's agricultural mechanization level and boost the development of the farm machinery industry and economic development".

The amount of the subsidy was 6 billion yuan more than in 2008, and it will be available to farmers and farm workers across the country.

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This plan was another important way to boost domestic demand apart from providing subsidized household appliances for farmers, said the meeting.

The government promised to grant a 13-percent subsidy for farmers' purchase of household appliances including color TV sets, refrigerators, mobile phones, washing machines and freezers starting in December 2007.

"China should take more active measures to create jobs and lay special importance on the employment of migrant workers, as some domestic enterprises ran into production and operation difficulties amid the adverse impact of the global financial turmoil," said the meeting.

The cabinet urged local governments to open more employment channels for migrant workers, give strong support to labor-intensive companies and pool more funds for migrant workers' skill training.

Local governments should streamline the procedures involving land use, taxation, business registration and other functions as well as providing  better financial services to help migrant workers who return home to start businesses, said the meeting.

Local authorities should also ensure migrant workers are promptly paid by employers, provide them with good social security services and protect their land contract rights as they return to their rural homes, according to the meeting.

China has about 210 million migrant workers who have left their rural hometowns to work in cities and towns.

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