BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China's top legislature found in its inspections that notable progress was made in improving people's welfare in fields like labor rights and food safety, said top legislator Wu Bangguo on Friday.
When delivering a work report of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the ongoing parliamentary session, Wu said the NPC Standing Committee carried out the second round of investigations on the enforcement of the Labor Contract Law and the Food Safety Law in 2011.
Investigations showed that the number of labor contracts signed in 2011 increased substantially and 97 percent of employees at large enterprises nationwide have signed labor contracts, he said.
Collective bargaining for wages was carried out in order while 114 million employees were covered in 2011 by collective contracts, an increase of 76.5 percent over 2007, he added.
Concerning food safety, lawmakers found that a national mechanism for coordinating efforts to ensure food safety began to take shape and the government enhanced its capacity to monitor and give early warnings on food safety risks.
Authorities also conducted campaigns to stop the illegal use and misuse of food additives and clenobuterol hydrochloride, while a number of prominent cases were exposed and the offenders were brought to justice, Wu said.
However, lawmakers also suggested that the key to solving serious problems in food safety is to effectively raise manufacturers' awareness of the law so as to ensure strict self-discipline and lawful, honest business practices, Wu said.
The government should effectively improve food safety supervision and make sure that responsibilities are clear, watchdog officials serve their duty and the law is strictly enforced, he said.
As defined by the Constitution, the NPC and its Standing Committee have the power of supervising the enforcement of the Constitution and laws and supervising the work of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
The power is to impose restrictions on other national organs of state power and ensure that the government should be run in accordance with the will of the people.
In 2011, the NPC Standing Committee made substantial progress in the oversight work
It heard and deliberated reports on accelerating transformation of the economic development pattern, protecting the environment and developing tourism, and conducted investigations and studies on special topics including making national income distribution more reasonable and promoting economic and social development in ethnic minority areas, according to the report.
In the fields concerning people's well-being, lawmakers had pushed the government to increase its spending on education to the amount equal to 4 percent of GDP in 2012, the report said.
They also urged the government to direct more public education resources toward rural, poor, and ethnic minority areas and provide equal access to compulsory education to the children of rural migrant workers in cities.
The NPC Standing Committee intensified oversight of government budgets through deliberating reports on the implementation of the country's annual plan and budgets, on the final accounts of the central government, and on auditing work, as well as examining and approving the final accounts of the central government in 2010.
It also listened to and deliberated reports of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on strengthening primary-level courts and procuratorates.
WORK IN 2012
Wu pledged to further strengthen and improve the oversight work of the NPC Standing Committee this year.
According to the report, the top legislature will listen to and deliberate several important reports of the State Council, for example, those on adjusting national income distribution, reform and development of state-owned enterprises, ensuring safe drinking water and administration of the entry, exit, residence, and employment of foreigners.
It will inspect enforcement of the Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons, the Law on the Protection of Cultural Relics, the Prison Law and prison work and the Anti-Drug Law and anti-drug work.
The NPC Standing Committee will also conduct investigations and studies on issues related to the transformation of economic development pattern, environmental protection, and urban community development.