By: Faraz Haleem
Date: February 22nd 2016
Source: China Business News
The Chinese central authority issued guidelines for urban development and management
The Chinese government has ramped up efforts to counter socioeconomic challenges, with an aim to sustain economic and social environment in the country. In a latest development, the Chinese authority has laid emphasis on urbanization and issued an outline to strengthen urban planning and construction management.
On Sunday, the Communist Party of China (CPC) central committee and the State Council issued guidelines for urban development and management to moderate construction work, efficient operation, and build a modern city. The Chinese government is also expected to limit cities to grow beyond their means of natural resources, a statement read.
Urbanization has been given great importance over the past few years, as about 56.1% of the total population lived in cities by 2015, against 18% in 1978. The significant increase in urban population was fueled by industrialization in the country. The working class migrated to cities in order to earn a better livelihood, populating cities.
Experts believe that the CPC’s decision to strengthen urban planning and construction management is likely to resolve issues, attached to urbanization. Professionals believe that the expansion of public transport in modern cities may ease traffic issues.
China vows to increase the penetration of public transport to 20% in medium-sized cities, 30% in big cities, and 40% in metropolitan cities by 2020, an official statement read. The move may also help it to control rising pollution in the country. In December, China issued warning twice, when the pollution level crossed 300 micrograms per cubic meter. The level above 25 micrograms per cubic meter is considered dangerous, according to World Health Organization (WHO).
In December, the CPC also held a meeting to discuss the solutions for the economic turmoil prevalent in the country. Last year, the Chinese economy slowed down, owing to sluggish domestic demand and recorded 6.9% GDP growth rate — the lowest since 1990. Along with other stimulus measures, the CPC also decided to include urbanization, housing reforms, and population control in a bid to boost growth in the country.
The committee focused on urbanization and decided to grant more urban work permits to workers. The move is also likely to address issues in the property sector in China. Due to the recent slump in the economy, the housing sector has also been cooling down in the country, weighing in on economic growth. In an attempt to offer support to the property sector, Beijing has undertaken several supportive measures.
On the monetary front, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) reduced interest rates six times since November 2014, lowering the cost of borrowing. On the fiscal front, PBOC reduced deed tax and business tax on sale and purchase of property, on Friday. Earlier this month for the second time in a year, the Chinese central bank cut payment to 20% and 30% on first-home and second-home to boost demand, respectively.
A rising stockpile in the property sector has been denting China’s effort to streamline the economy. However, analysts believe that the urbanization policy may boost demand in the housing sector. It is also expected to increase the supply of workforce in the cities, decreasing wage rates.
However, China is also expected to face a shortage of workforce as its working population — aged between 15 and 64 — has been drastically decreasing. According to the United Nations (UN) projections, the Chinese workforce is likely to shrink by 67 million by 2030. The Chinese elderly population is also likely to increase to 210 million by 2030 from 110 million, in 2010.
Last year, China also abandoned its decade-old one-child policy, to counter a decreasing fertility rate, an aging workforce, and to preserve social and economic stability in the country. Experts believe that the focus on urbanization management may not just help China to create a balanced social environment, but is also likely to help develop sustainable economic growth factors.
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Photo source: Loïc Lagarde via Flickr/Creative Commons (CC By-NC-ND 2.0). Photo: © Loïc Lagarde