The State Council addressed a number of recent concerns raised by the media and the public.
On Aug 24, the Ministry of Education commented on a case in Linyi, Shandong province, in which a would-be college student received a call from fraudsters who claimed to be issuing a State subsidy to her. Earlier, the local education bureau said she could apply for the subsidy so when she received the call she implicitly trusted the callers and transmitted 9,900 yuan ($1,484) to them.
The ministry reminds all college students, especially newly-enrolled, that the State will issue subsidies via official channels, and any telephone call requiring people to transmit money should be reported.
The National Development and Reform Commission responded to recent media concern over a recent guide document co-issued by three other ministries, which improve the current system of adjusting social welfare according to commodity price rises.
The official in charge of commodity prices at the NDRC said that they improved the system by raising subsidy standards according to the change in food prices instead of grain prices, because the former are more directly related to living costs.
Previously they would not adjust the subsidy unless the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 3 to 4 percent and grain prices rose by 10 percent; now they raise the subsidy when the CPI rises by 3.8 percent or higher, and food prices rise by 6 percent.
More importantly, the new system requires local governments to prearrange financial budgets, to ensure the subsidy rise can be realized should prices rise. And the new guiding document clearly requires local governments to issue temporary subsidies for price hikes within 20 working days, which further helps less well-off residents.
Zhang Yong, vice-director of the NDRC, also responded to media inquiries about a recent plan setting up an ecological experiment zone, listing Fujian as the first such zone. Zhang said that the plan is an implementation of the broader strategy of the protection and construction of ecological areas, which encourages local governments to try their own mode. He hopes Fujian will set a good example for more regions to follow.
The Ministry of Finance responded to media concerns about the recent regulation that divides power and responsibility between the central and local governments. Its spokesperson said that the previous mixed system caused confusion because the central and local finance departments had too many shared responsibilities.
The new regulation coming into effect will clearly define areas of responsibility.