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Ministry touts plan to improve infrastructure

By Wang Xiaodong Source: China Daily Updated: 2021-01-15


Wuning, Jiangxi province, is harnessing the potential of nature-based tourism to boost local economy while protecting environment and ecology. [Photo provided to] 

Efforts to target roads, housing, water supplies and more in nation's rural areas

Infrastructure improvement will gather momentum over the next few years as part of national efforts to rejuvenate and modernize China's rural areas, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Wednesday.

China will improve basic infrastructure including roads, water supplies, upgrading of electrical networks, logistics and housing, Liu Huanxin, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said during a news conference at the State Council Information Office.

Sustained efforts will also be made to optimize distribution of public resources such as education, healthcare and culture between rural and urban areas in counties, he said.

Meanwhile, the ministry will carry out a five-year program to improve the overall living environment in rural areas, Liu said.

Development is an important task in the rural rejuvenation strategy, and great progress over the past three years has resulted in improved living conditions, he said.

The strategy, put forward by the top leadership in October 2017, aimed at essentially modernizing China's agriculture and rural areas by 2035, and achieving all-around prosperity in rural areas by 2050.

Zeng Yande, chief for the ministry's development and planning department, said with intensified efforts in recent years, living and working conditions and the general appearance in rural areas across China have significantly improved.

For example, 83 percent of residents living in rural areas now have access to tap water, and more than 90 percent of villages have domestic garbage disposal systems. Nearly all villages in China have access to internet services, he said, but he added that shortfalls still remain and sustained efforts are needed to keep improving living conditions.

"We are working with other departments to formulate a plan for rural development and will carry them out as soon as possible," he said.

An important part of the plan is to improve basic infrastructure covering water, electrical and natural gas supply, roads, housing and telecommunications. In addition, high-tech infrastructure such as 5G and internet of things will be extended to rural areas to promote a comparable basic infrastructure for residents between rural and urban areas, Zeng said.

Key efforts over the next few years will also include upgrading toilets in central and western China and accelerating sewage treatment to make rural areas more livable and attractive for business.

Liu, the vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said more resources will be devoted to agriculture and rural areas over the course of modernization, and integrated development between urban and rural areas is necessary to reduce the gap.

The integrated development will focus on counties, which are closer to rural areas, so they can become centers for public services for residents in those areas, he said.

Measures will be taken to encourage developing industries in rural areas to bring more economic benefit, Liu said.