China sets economic growth target ‘above 6%’ for 2021, defense budget to be hiked by 6.8%

China has set an economic growth target of “above 6 per cent” for 2021, Li Keqiang announced Friday at the National People’s Congress in Beijing. Li said while presenting the government work report that in view of the country’s economic recovery, this general target has been set.

He further said, China will continue to face many development risks and challenges in 2021, but the economic fundamentals that will sustain long-term growth remain unchanged. The International Monetary Fund forecast in January that China’s economy would grow by 8.1 per cent in 2021.

China, the second largest economy of the world, did not set an economic growth target in 2020 in a break from tradition, due to impact of COVID19.

China’s economy contracted by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter last year amid widespread lockdowns to contain the spread of Covid-19. But China’s economy rebounded and grew 2.3 per cent in 2020. The NPC session, which is held simultaneousiy with the annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, known as the two sessions, is a window into China’s policy priorities for the year.

The Government Work Report also set a slew of economic and social development goals for 2021, including creating 11 million new urban jobs, keeping CPI growth of around 3 percent and cutting energy consumption per unit of GDP by around 3 percent.

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