China details plans for urban infrastructure projects

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's cabinet detailed plans on Monday to speed construction of urban infrastructure projects, in the latest move in Beijing's plan to boost domestic demand by swelling the ranks of city dwellers.

China has an ambitious plan to increase the numbers of urban residents as it seeks to restructure its economy away from credit and export growth to one where consumers provide the main impetus.

The government will focus on projects ranging from underground sewage and household waste treatment to gas pipes and heating systems as well as public transport and power grid upgrades, to spur high quality urbanisation, the cabinet said on its website, www.gov.cn.

"We will quicken building steps on projects under construction, actively push forward new projects and make preparations for follow-up projects," the cabinet said.

Top economic planner the National Development and Reform Commission is expected to unveil an urbanisation plan in the second half of this year.

The cost of settling China's rural workers in cities could be about 650 billion yuan annually, a government think-tank said in July. That figure is equivalent to about 5.5 percent of fiscal revenue last year.

Policymakers have already stepped in with several measures aimed at stabilising the economy and building a platform for urbanisation in the face of a slowdown in growth, including quickening railway investment and building public housing.

Recent economic data have shown some of the impact of those policies, with factory output in August hitting a 17-month high and retail sales growing at their fastest pace this year.

As part of its plans, China will finish building 73,000 km of sewage pipelines and will raise the volume of sewage treated in cities to 85 percent by 2015, besides completing 80,000 km of gas pipe networks.

The government will also woo private investors for some projects. (Reporting by Xiaoyi Shao and Jonathan Standing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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