China’s central ministries recently held meetings to set their work plans for 2017 on social issues including environmental protection, housing, health and food safety. What will the focal points of their work be in 2017? Let’s take a look.
Environmental Protection Ministry
The ministry revealed its plans to tackle Chinese cities’ notorious winter pollution, tightening the regulations on pollution in the winter season in the following six ways: clamping down on coal-fired boilers; intensifying supervision on bulk coal control in urban villages, mixed urban-rural areas and rural communities; staggering some business operations to non-peak periods during the winter; improving industrial emission standards; standardizing businesses that are low-cost, scattered, disordered and polluting; stepping up the upgrade of motor vehicles and strengthening regulations on heavy vehicles.
Furthermore, there are plans to implement the establishment of environmental contingency impact and loss assessments; support public interest environmental civil litigations on major and serious environmental contingencies; and set up a preliminary system for environmental health monitoring, research and risk assessment.
National Health and Family Planning Commission
The Commission announced its intention to set up 126 monitoring points across the country, and find out what effects air pollution have caused on the health of the citizens and the prevalence of relevant diseases nationally; and strengthen scientific research dedicated to the impact of air pollution on health. A project has also been launched on “assessment of the risks of smog for human health” and “critical technologies for early warning systems”, with which to identify specific pollutants in the air that affect human health, and seek to set up a system to evaluate the way smog affects health.
The commission will also extend the scope of operations of the “two-invoice system”, and aim to comprehensively apply the system across the country, in order to help ease the financial burden of purchasing medicine; step up the establishment of a national basic healthcare network, and realise direct payment for medical treatment in different places; and cut down the contribution rate for pensions. A “green corridor” will be established for the aged to make an appointment with the doctors.
Ministry of Civil Affairs
In 2017 the Ministry will begin to set up an integrated system of care for the elderly and the corresponding standards as well as management regulations— more than 80% of medical institutions will offer a “green channel” for the aged to facilitate their medical treatment; over 50% of institutions caring for the elderly will be able to provide medical and health services in various ways, thus substantially improve the accessibility of care.
Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development
The Ministry aims to upgrade six million homes for shantytown residents and achieve a three year shanty-town renovation plan. Other goals are to forward the construction of public housing and the reform of provident funds, as well as a comprehensive renovation of old quarters and residential districts.
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration will step up on the spot checks of residual pesticide and veterinary drugs, improve its information disclosure, and strengthen safety inspections on infant formula by conducting checkups and publicising the results each month. The quantity and quality of brands of infant formula will be strictly controlled to avoid possible exaggerations that could mislead consumers. The rectification of the use of illegal addictives and promotions will continue, and the “bright kitchen” program to strengthen the food safety conditions of catering units will continue.