Developing social services and promoting balanced economic and social development. Governments at all levels increased spending on science and technology, education, culture, health, and sports programs, with the total amount reaching 2.82 trillion yuan.
We continued to enhanceChina's scientific and technological innovation capabilities. We strengthened basic research and research in cutting-edge technologies. We carried out major national research and development projects, made breakthroughs in a number of core and key technologies, and filled in many gaps in important products and technologies. The Tiangong-1 space module and the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft were launched, and Shenzhou-8 successfully docked with Tiangong-1, marking a new milestone inChina's development of manned spaceflights.
We made solid progress in making education more equitable. We thoroughly implemented the Plan for Education Reform and Development. Thanks to tireless efforts over the past 25 years, we have fully attained the goals of making nine-year compulsory education universally available and basically eliminating illiteracy among young and middle-aged adults. Over 30 million rural boarding school students were exempted from accommodation expenses, and 12.28 million of them who are from poor families in the central and western regions received living allowances. A comprehensive system for providing aid to students from poor families was put in place. The children of rural migrant workers were generally granted access to compulsory education in cities where they live. A three-year action plan for preschool education was carried out, and the number of children enrolled in preschool increased. We vigorously developed vocational education. We strengthened training of primary and secondary school teachers, expanded trials of reforming the system of conferring professional titles on them, and raised their overall quality. All the graduates of 2011 who received tuition-free education in teachers' colleges and universities went to teach in primary and secondary schools, with over 90% of them working in central and westernChina.
We vigorously strengthened development of the cultural sector. The central government increased financial support for cultural programs that benefit the people, and local governments significantly increased spending on nonprofit cultural programs. We increased the number of public cultural facilities open to the public free of charge, and steadily expanded their services. We continued to reform the cultural system, and cultural industries developed rapidly. Major progress was made in protecting cultural relics and in protecting and passing onChina's intangible cultural heritage. We put great effort into building public sports facilities, vigorously developed fitness activities across the country, and made new achievements in sports activities.
We actively yet prudently carried out reform and development of medical and healthcare services. We further expanded coverage of basic medical insurance, so that now 1.3 billion urban and rural residents are covered. A medical insurance system that covers the whole population is emerging. We raised the reimbursement rate for hospitalization expenses covered by relevant policies, and expanded the range of major diseases for which medical treatment is insured. Governments at all levels increased per-person subsidies for the medical insurance for non-working urban residents and the new type of rural cooperative medical care system from 120 yuan per year to 200 yuan per year. We implemented the national system for basic drugs in all community-level medical and health care institutions run by the government, and basic drugs became safer and more affordable. We progressed in an orderly fashion with trials of reforming public hospitals, basically established a community medical and health care service system, and made progress in providing equal access to basic public health services.
4. Ensuring and improving the people's wellbeing and solving problems that affect their interests. We continued to put the people's wellbeing first, worked hard to bring the benefit of development to all, and promoted social fairness and justice.
We implemented a more active employment policy. We created jobs through a variety of channels, expanded job opportunities through the creation of new businesses, strengthened vocational skills training, and improved the public employment service system. We increased fiscal, taxation, and financial support to promote employment of university graduates, rural migrant workers, and other key groups. The employment rate for college graduates reached 77.8%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points over the previous year. The number of rural workers totaled 253 million, an increase of 4.4% over the previous year, of whom 159 million worked in towns and cities, up 3.4%.
We adjusted income distribution. We worked hard to increase the income of low-income people. Per capita net income of rural residents in real terms registered the fastest growth since 1985, outpacing urban residents for the second straight year. We significantly increased the minimum wage across the country. Basic pensions for enterprise retirees increased for the seventh consecutive year, with an average increase of 1,680 yuan per person for the year, which benefited over 57 million people. We further increased subsistence allowances for rural and urban residents and subsidies and living allowances for some entitled groups, and granted lump-sum living allowances to more than 86 million people in need, including subsistence allowance recipients in urban and rural areas and childless and infirm rural residents who are entitled to five forms of support (food, clothing, medical care, housing, and burial expenses). We instituted a mechanism to increase social aid and social security benefits when consumer prices rise. The proportion of middle-income earners in the whole population increased. We raised the salary threshold for personal income tax from 2,000 yuan to 3,500 yuan. We reduced the tax burden on over nine million self-employed people. The central government set the new poverty line at 2,300 yuan, which was the per capita net income in rural areas at 2010 prices, an increase of 92% over 2009. This resulted in more low-income people being covered by the government's poverty reduction program, which constitutes tremendous social progress.
We bolstered the development of the social security system. We continued to expand coverage of social security, and the number of people covered by basic old-age insurance for urban residents, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation and maternity insurance rose substantially nationwide. We carried out trials of old-age insurance for non-working urban residents in 2,147 counties and county-level cities and districts, covering 13.34 million residents, and 6.41 million residents received pensions. We launched trials of a new type of old-age insurance for rural residents in 2,343 counties and county-level cities and districts, covering 358 million people, and 98.8 million people received pensions. We extended coverage of this insurance to more than 60% ofChina's counties. We solved longstanding problems concerning pensions for more than five million retirees of collectively owned enterprises. We included 3.12 million persons who suffer from past work-related injuries and dependents of employees who lost their lives in work-related accidents in workers' compensation insurance. We worked in an orderly way to make it possible to transfer pension accounts between localities. We continued to improve the social security system and made significant progress in extending coverage to all residents. This was an important achievement for ensuring equal access to basic public services for all.
We accelerated the construction of low-income housing. We adopted guidelines on construction and management of low-income housing; improved policies on government input, land supply, credit support, and tax and fee reductions; strove to improve project planning and construction quality; and introduced a system and measures for distributing, managing, and recalling low-income housing. The central government allocated 171.3 billion yuan for these purposes, an increase of 120% over 2010. We basically completed 4.32 million units of low-income urban housing and began construction on a further 10.43 million units.
We worked hard to safeguard public safety. We intensified oversight and supervision of workplace safety and ensured that major accidents were fully investigated and dealt with and those responsible were held accountable. We improved the system and mechanisms for oversight and supervision of food safety, and gave high priority to cracking down on the use of illegal additives and the illegal production and processing of food. We put people and services first, strengthened and made innovations in social administration, strove to investigate and resolve social conflicts, cracked down on crime in accordance with the law, and maintained social harmony and stability.
5. Deepening reform and opening up and injecting new vitality and impetus into economic and social development. We intensified efforts to overcome difficulties and carried forward reform in major areas and key links to meet reform targets set forth in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan.
We improved the public finance system, particularly the budget management system. We put all extrabudgetary funds under budgetary management; expanded the scope of budgets for the use of state capital; deepened the reform requiring government departments to prepare their own budgets; and moved ahead with publicly releasing government budgets and final accounts. Ninety-eight central government departments as well as provincial and municipal governments, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Shaanxi, publicly released information regarding their spending on official overseas trips, official vehicles and official hospitality. We carried out a price-based reform of resource taxes on crude oil and natural gas nationwide, and introduced a plan to replace business tax with value-added tax (VAT) on a trial basis. We extended the use of RMB in cross-border trade settlement to the whole country, launched trials for settling overseas direct investment accounts in RMB, and began settling foreign direct investment accounts in RMB. We deepened reform of tenure in collective forests, launched a trial reform of state forestry farms, and started registration for contracting pastureland in accordance with the law. We pressed ahead with reform of the system for managing the construction of water conservancy facilities and made innovations in the system for managing water resources; and deepened reform of state-owned enterprises. We carried out reform to restructure power grids by separating their main business from auxiliary services and implemented the plan to adjust the prices of on-grid electricity and non-household electricity. We basically completed the reform of county and town government bodies, and proceeded with the reform of public institutions through classification in an orderly manner.
We continued to put equal emphasis on exports and imports, encouraged foreign investment inChinaand Chinese investment overseas, and made comprehensive improvements toChina's open economy. We actively pursued the strategy of diversifying markets and improved the trade mix.China's total volume of trade in goods totaled US$ 3.64 trillion for the year, up 22.5%. Exports and imports grew by 20.3% and 24.9%, respectively, and our trade surplus decreased further. Total utilized foreign direct investment was $116 billion, and a larger proportion of it went to service industries and the central and western regions. Chinese companies expanded their overseas presence, and non-financial outward direct investment reached $60.1 billion. We actively participated in international and regional economic cooperation and continued to deepen multilateral and bilateral economic and trade relations.
We made outstanding progress in improving democracy and the legal system; strengthening national defense and building up the armed forces; and in our work related toHong Kong,MacaoandTaiwanand our diplomatic work.
Our hard-won achievements over the past year are a testament to the strength and vitality of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and have enhanced the pride and cohesiveness of the Chinese nation. We owe these achievements to the sound decisions made by the Party Central Committee, with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary, and its correct leadership, as well as the concerted efforts and hard work of the Party, the armed forces, and the people of all ethnic groups inChina. On behalf of the State Council, I wish to sincerely thank the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, the democratic parties, people's organizations, and people from all sectors of society. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our compatriots in the Hong Kong andMacaospecial administrative regions and inTaiwan, as well as overseas Chinese. I also wish to express my sincere appreciation to governments of other countries, international organizations, and foreign friends around the world who show understanding for and supportChinain its pursuit of modernization.
We are keenly aware thatChinastill faces many difficulties and challenges in economic and social development. Internationally, the road to global economic recovery will be tortuous, the global financial crisis is still evolving, and some countries will find it hard to ease the sovereign debt crisis any time soon. The unemployment rate remains high in the major developed economies, and they lack impetus for growth. Emerging economies face the dual pressures of inflation and slowing economic growth. The exchange rates of major currencies and the prices of important commodities are experiencing sharp fluctuations. Protectionism in international trade and investment is mounting. Domestically, it has become more urgent but also more difficult to solve institutional and structural problems and alleviate the problem of unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable development. In addition,China's economy is encountering new problems. There is downward pressure on economic growth. Prices remain high. Regulation of the real estate market is in a crucial stage. It is getting harder to maintain steady development of agriculture and sustain increases in rural incomes. Pressure to increase total employment coexists with structural shortages of qualified personnel in some industries. Some enterprises, especially small and micro businesses, face increasing difficulties in their operations. Some industries are plagued by excess production capacity. Total energy consumption is growing excessively fast. Moreover, some long-term and short-term problems are interwoven; structural and cyclical factors affect each other; domestic and international problems have become interrelated; and our macro-control work faces a more complex situation. There are still some deficiencies and shortcomings in the government's work. Targets for conserving energy, reducing emissions, and controlling prices are not being met. Problems concerning land expropriation, housing demolition, workplace safety, food and drug safety, and income distribution are still very serious and the people are still very concerned about them. Government administration and services need to be improved, and efforts to build clean government need to be intensified.
We must act with a strong sense of responsibility toward the country and the people, take more effective steps to resolve these problems, strive to do all our work better, and truly live up to the people's expectations.
II. Major Steps to Be Taken in Government Work in 2012
This year is an important year of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period, and the last year of the term of my government. We must dedicate ourselves to our duties, forge ahead with determination, tackle difficult problems directly, and work diligently to achieve results that satisfy the people.
We are still in an important period of strategic opportunities forChina's development, and there are a number of favorable conditions for us to maintain steady and robust economic development for a long time. Industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization are proceeding rapidly, and improvements in the consumption pattern and the industrial structure will create huge potential demand. In the course of over 30 years of reform and opening up, we have built a solid material foundation and institutional conditions for development and gained rich experience in macro-control. Our enterprises have become significantly more competitive and resilient. The eastern region has greater capacity for innovation and development, and the development potential of the central and western regions and the old industrial bases in northeastChinais being constantly unleashed. We still have our traditional strengths in economic development, as well as rich human resources and a more skilled workforce. We have a good balance between government revenue and expenditures and a sound financial system, and there is ample nongovernmental capital. The global economic and political patterns are undergoing profound changes; peace, development, and cooperation remain the underlying trends of the times, and overall the situation is favorable forChina's peaceful development. We need to have firm confidence, capitalize on favorable conditions and factors, and continue to grasp and make the most of this important period of strategic opportunities to promote steady and robust economic development, and continue to enhanceChina's overall strength and its international influence.
We must hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, take Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents as our guide, thoroughly apply the Scientific Outlook on Development, make progress while maintaining stability, and strengthen and improve macro-control. We will continue to balance maintaining steady and robust economic development, adjusting the economic structure, and managing inflation expectations; accelerate the transformation of the pattern of economic development and adjustment of the economic structure; vigorously expand domestic demand, particularly consumer demand; make every effort to strengthen innovation, energy conservation, and emissions reduction; and strive to deepen reform and opening up and ensure and improve the people's wellbeing. We will comprehensively advance socialist economic development, political, cultural and social progress, and ecological awareness. We will strive to achieve steady and robust economic development and overall price stability, maintain social harmony and stability, and greet the coming Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC with outstanding achievements in economic and social development.
The main targets for this year's economic and social development are as follows: to increase GDP by 7.5%, create more than 9 million new jobs in towns and cities, keep the registered urban unemployment rate at or below 4.6%, hold increases in the CPI to around 4%, increase the volume of total exports and imports by around 10%, and continue to improve our balance of payments. At the same time, we will make further progress in industrial restructuring, innovation, energy conservation, and emissions reduction, and ensure that both urban and rural residents' real incomes increase in line with economic growth. Here I wish to stress that in setting a slightly lower GDP growth rate, we hope to make it fit with targets in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, and to guide people in all sectors to focus their work on accelerating the transformation of the pattern of economic development and making economic development more sustainable and efficient, so as to achieve higher-level, higher-quality development over a longer period of time. In projecting a CPI increase of around 4%, we have taken into account imported inflation, rising costs of factors of production, and people's ability to absorb the impact of price increases, while leaving room for the effect of price reforms.
Taking into consideration all relevant factors, we will continue to follow a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy, carry out timely and appropriate anticipatory adjustments and fine-tuning, and make our policies more targeted, flexible, and anticipatory.
We will continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy. We will keep the deficit and government debt at appropriate levels. This year, we are projecting a deficit of 800 billion yuan, a decrease to around 1.5% of GDP, which consists of a 550 billion yuan central government deficit and 250 billion yuan of bonds issued on behalf of local governments. We will improve the structure of expenditures and give priority to spending in key areas. We will increase spending on areas which are important to the people's wellbeing, such as education, culture, medical and health care, employment, social security, and low-income housing projects. We will pay greater attention to strengthening weak links, and increase funding for agriculture, rural areas, farmers, underdeveloped areas, scientific and technological innovation, energy conservation, environmental protection, water conservancy, and geological prospecting. We will be more economical; strictly restrict spending on official overseas trips, vehicles for official use, and official hospitality; greatly reduce meetings and documents; deepen reform of the system for the use of official cars; and further reduce administrative costs. We will continue to restrict the construction of office buildings in terms of both size and grades, and reduce spending on building large gymnasiums and stadiums. We will also comprehensively strengthen auditing of key areas, sectors, and funds. We will introduce structural tax reductions. We will fully implement and improve all preferential tax policies to support the development of small, micro and individually owned businesses, and carry out pilot projects to replace business tax with VAT. We will continue to investigate the collection and use of administrative fees and operations of government-managed funds, merge them where necessary, and ensure fees are collected and government-managed funds are operated in a standardized way. We will strengthen supervision of local government debt and guard against risks. We will continue to deal with outstanding debts properly by classifying them into different categories and managing them accordingly, dealing with different situations differently, and resolving problems gradually. We will further investigate and standardize financing companies run by local governments. Governments at all levels are prohibited from making guarantees and promises in this respect in violation of laws and regulations. At the same time, we will both take short-term measures and build permanent systems, strictly limit new local government debt, and place revenue and expenditures of local government debt under budgetary management on the basis of their type.
We will continue to implement a prudent monetary policy. We aim to promote steady and robust economic development, keep prices stable, and guard against financial risks by keeping the total money and credit supply at an appropriate level, and taking a cautious yet flexible approach. We will employ a full range of monetary policy tools, appropriately adjust the supply and demand of money and credit, and maintain proper growth of financing from nongovernment sources. The broad money supply is projected to increase by 14%. We will improve the credit structure, support key state projects that are under construction or expansion and low-income housing projects, and increase credit support to enterprises, especially small and micro businesses, whose operations are in accordance with industrial policies and whose products have market demand. We will effectively reduce the financing costs of the real economy, and continue to strictly restrict loans to industries that are energy intensive, have high emissions or possess excess production capacity. We will improve the mechanism for setting the RMB exchange rate, make the floating exchange rate regime more flexible, and keep the RMB exchange rate basically stable at an appropriate and balanced level. We will vigorously develop the foreign exchange market, diversify foreign exchange products, and provide more tools for market participants to hedge foreign exchange risks. We will manage and utilize our foreign exchange reserves well. We will set up a sound mechanism for preventing systemic financial risks and for coordinating financial oversight and supervision to strengthen our ability to withstand risks. We will tighten oversight on cross-border flows of capital, standardize all types of lending activities, and guide the sound development of private financing.
To ensure success in all our work this year, we must uphold the theme of scientific development, take transforming the pattern of economic development as the main thread, adopt a holistic approach, and coordinate all our work. We must coordinate efforts to achieve steady growth, control prices, adjust the economic structure, improve the people's wellbeing, implement reform, and promote harmony.
To achieve steady growth, we will continue to expand domestic demand and keep foreign demand stable, vigorously develop the real economy, work hard to counter the impact of various factors of instability and uncertainty at home and abroad, promptly resolve emerging issues that signal unfavorable trends, and maintain stable economic performance.
To control prices, we will continue to take comprehensive measures to maintain basic overall price stability and prevent a rebound of inflation.
To adjust the economic structure, we will support development in some areas while limiting growth in others, improve the quality and efficiency of economic growth, and make development more coordinated and sustainable.
To improve the people's wellbeing, we will continue to take ensuring and improving the people's wellbeing as the fundamental starting point and goal of our work, give higher priority to promoting social fairness and justice, and take a number of initiatives that will bring substantive benefits to the people.
To implement reform, we will carry out reform and opening up with greater determination and effort, solve institutional and structural problems that hinder long-term sound economic and social development, and make breakthroughs in key areas and crucial links. We will spur reform, development and innovation through opening up.
To promote harmony, we will properly balance reform, development, and stability; effectively defuse various types of conflicts, risks, and dangers; prevent isolated problems from growing into major ones; and promote social harmony and stability