Fifth, we have taken solid steps in securing high-quality economic growth.
The Comprehensive Pilot Program for Further Opening of the Service Sector has been fully implemented to create a high-level pilot zone of a fully open and modern service sector.
With the release of the three-year action plans for reform and opening-up in 8 areas, including finance, technology, online information and professional services, coordinated efforts have been made to push for project launch in relevant fields. Advanced customs declaration at ports and other pioneering practices from Beijing have been replicated nationwide. We have spearheaded policy breakthroughs in overseas investment by Qualified Domestic Limited Partners, facilitation of foreign exchange receipts and payments for trade in goods, securitization of intellectual property, and lowering thresholds for foreign investors to establish investment companies. 272 foreign-investment projects have been launched in Beijing, including BMW (China) Investment, Daimler Commercial Vehicles China and the Toyota Hydrogen Fuel-Cell R&D Center. The China-Germany and China-Japan industrial parks are in the pipeline.
We have expanded all-round opening of our financial sector, reinforced the trend of opening after the top three global credit rating agencies have their Chinese subsidiaries registered in Beijing, and attracted internationally renowned financial institutions such as SWIFT, PayPal and two major international bank card organizations to locate their Chinese ventures in our city. ICBC, BOC, ABC and PSBC have all set up wealth management subsidiaries in Beijing, and Daiwa Securities Group and Toyota Financial Services are also preparing to open branches. The Beijing Fintech Research Institute was established. The Beijing Fintech Innovation and Professional Services Demonstration Zone took the lead in China in running the pilot program of "regulatory sandbox", and over 70 key companies have moved into the demonstration zone, making Beijing one of the cities with the highest density of fintech resources in the world.
We have adopted a package of measures to minimize the impact of the China-US trade frictions. Our imports and exports of goods have continued to grow at a pace faster than the national average. The China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) was upgraded in 2019, resulting in a three-fold increase in the number of participants, and over 70% of countries along the "Belt and Road" participated in the fair. We have increased the number of pilot communities for foreigners with professional skills to 8, designated 7 hospitals and 6 municipal districts to offer international health service on a trial basis. We have put in place a three-year action plan on development of international schools, with a view to fostering an environment resembling those of the home countries of the foreign talents.
We have successively implemented versions 2.0 and 3.0 of reforms to improve the business environment. Beijing continues to rank first in business environment in China, making a significant contribution to advancing China's place in the World Bank's ranking for ease of doing business. In particular, we are the first in China to have streamlined application for non-government investment in low-risk projects. We reduced the steps for obtaining construction permits to five, which can be completed within 20 days. This is equivalent to moving up 100 places from 132nd to 32nd on the World Bank ease of doing business ranking. Beijing has now joined the top 20 cities in the world for indicators of "starting a business", "getting electricity" and "enforcing contracts".
The general public and businesses now enjoy much easy access to government services. To ensure all applications can be processed at any desk, "single window" services are available at all government service centers at the municipal, district and sub-district (township) levels. We have eliminated all certification requirements by municipal and district level authorities and the uncertain "other" requirements. Documents required and time needed for getting things done have both been cut by 60%. 895 matters could be handled online and 150 through self-service. A new version of "Beijing Pass" has been launched and over 600 matters can be processed on mobile terminals.
We have launched 58 "In One Go" government services, under which individuals and businesses can submit all their information by completing a single form. Government services are more standardized. 11 service items including administrative licensing have been harmonized at government service centers at the municipal, district and sub-district (township) levels where they are under the same names, categories, legal basis and codes.
We have implemented all national policies on cutting taxes and administrative fees. The burden on businesses has been reduced by 180 billion yuan per annum. We have added a business service function to the "12345" hotline, provided "steward" service to key companies. A bailout fund totaling 30 billion yuan has been put together. We have established and improved the financing service system for technology start-ups and privately-owned, micro and small businesses under the "1+8" government service framework, put in place a comprehensive financial service platform for micro and small businesses and a business refinancing center, and held 50 match-making events between banks and businesses under the "Easy Financing" project. We have facilitated the listing of and services for local companies. 12 companies have been listed on the STAR market, and another 7 companies on the main board.
We have strengthened effort to meet the "six stability" requirement by the central government and kept economic growth within a proper range. We have enhanced macro-regulation, project planning and investment in kind in the fields of infrastructure, high-end, precision and sophisticated industries as well as industries related to the improvement of people's livelihood. 300 key municipal-level projects have been carried out, among which investments in construction and installation projects have increased by about 6%. Business regulation has improved with the adoption of 180 local standards, aimed at increasing the supply of high-quality products and services.
19 pro-consumption policies have been introduced to nurture consumer niche markets. Night markets have been illuminated and night tours designed around the first batch of "night-time Beijing" landmarks, business areas and living quarters, together with improved transportation and public facilities and services—all in an effort to foster a quality, appealing and distinctive night-time economy.
Wangfujing and other three main commercial areas are being upgraded. So are the first group of 10 traditional department stores, each with a tailor-made plan. Total consumption has increased by about 7.5%, of which the total retail sales of goods and services have gone up by more than 4% and 10% respectively.
We have formulated a three-year action plan for high-quality development of the cultural industry and advanced the construction of the National Cultural Industry Innovation Experiment Zone and the National Base for International Cultural Trade. The revenue from cultural businesses above the designated size increased by about 8%. We have issued guidelines on integrating cultural and tourism development, and Yanqing, Huairou and Pinggu have been among the first group recognized nationally as "holistic tourism" model towns.
Municipal SOEs have accelerated transformation and innovation and their technology spending has increased by about 40%. 10 Grade I SOEs have completed restructuring. Beijing Innovation Industry Investment Co. was set up to support the growth of high-end, precision and sophisticated industries. Higher SOE profit submission has played a big role in ensuring a balanced government budget.
Sixth, we have improved precision governance.
We have advanced the "one microgram" campaign in our daily work. The annual average level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration has dropped by a large margin and our citizens now enjoy more blue skies. Law enforcement has been enhanced on mobile pollution sources. Over 28,000 heavy-duty diesel trucks are under real time monitoring and 3.118 million inspections have been done on such trucks. 42,700 diesel trucks on China III emission standards have been removed from roads. Over 3,500 taxis have been upgraded or changed to EVs. Regulation has been tightened on high-emission non-road mobile machinery.
Precision control over dust has been strengthened. 1,700 roads have been placed under real-time, mobile dust load surveillance. We inform on a regular basis sub-districts and townships of their performance and rankings in coarse particles and road dust load control. 32,000 violations were punished concerning construction-site dusting, dregs disposal, and leaks and littering. The citywide average dust precipitation has dropped to 6 tons/square kilometer per month. Individualized solutions on VOC control have been provided to 52 businesses in the most relevant industries. More than 18,000 tasks to control cooking fumes in the catering industry have been completed. Eco-environmental inspections are carried out regularly with greater intensity to make sure governments at all levels fulfill their duties.
We have made initial progress in comprehensive transit governance, parking order in particular, by introducing a wide range of measures to increase supply, control demand and strengthen regulation. Electronic fee collection for roadside parking is up and running on all roads above collector-road level, covering 61,000 roadside parking spaces. Efforts have continued to address frequently congested sections, particularly in the Central Business District (CBD), the northwestern part of which has been made a slow transportation demonstration zone. Great efforts have been made to improve traffic in school and hospital areas. Congestion has been eased on the 322 road sections designated in the tasks for 2019.
Traffic signals at 376 intersections in the core zone have been upgraded. 1,370 kilometers of roads guardrails have been relocated or removed for optimal effect. 29 comprehensive management tasks have been completed in areas around the Beijing Railway Station, the Beijing South Railway Station and the Beijing West Railway Station, including improving the environment of the waiting areas, faster connection with subways and buses, and elimination of unlicensed taxis and other illegal transportation services.
We have set up a bike sharing regulatory and service platform. Control is set on the total fleet of bike-sharing companies based on the parking order. The total supply has dropped to 0.9 million, down 53%.
Three new rail transit lines have been opened, bringing the total service mileage close to 700 kilometers. Intervals between trains on 10 subway lines have been shortened, raising transportation capacity by 35.7% at maximum. With the installation of QR code scanners, mobile payment is accepted on all means of municipal public transportation. The mileage of suburban railways has increased by 59.7 kilometers, reaching 241.3 kilometers.
The westward extension of Chang'an Avenue and other trunk roads were opened to traffic. 25 collector roads have been constructed. 52 projects have been completed where public roads built by real estate developers on behalf of the municipal government were transferred to the latter. We have adjusted 141 bus routes and put in place the nation's first integrated service platform for green commuting. Traffic index in the central area is down 1.1% and the ratio of green commuting has gone up to 74.1%.
We have continued to improve the environment in urban and rural areas. The three-year action plan on building a beautiful countryside has been advanced. We have completed planning for over 2,200 villages, started selection of around 100 environmentally sound model villages and another 1,000 villages for pollution control. Sewage treatment in 300 villages has been improved and 839 rural toilets have been renovated, raising the ratio of non-polluting private toilets to 97.6%. Thanks to these efforts, the living environment in rural areas has significantly improved.
More local plant varieties have been used in landscaping and more attention is given to the integrity and interconnection of the urban forest system. Another 258,000 mu (17,200 hectares) of green areas have been created by the new afforestation project, raising the city's forestry coverage to 44%. Yanqing District has been included in the list of the "national forest cities". We have improved planning for urbanization in greenbelt areas, and basically completed pilots in the first 6 townships.
Municipal water supply has replaced off-grid water systems in another 316 organizations and communities, and water pipelines have been upgraded in 397 old and run-down communities, benefiting over one million people. The groundwater table in plain areas has picked up by 0.32 meters over the previous year. Water environment has improved significantly in urban and rural areas as we completed the second three-year plan on sewage treatment and met the national evaluation standards ahead of schedule.
We have enforced measures of soil pollution risk control for construction land through recycling of construction wastes and heavy penalties on illegal disposal. We have promoted municipal solid waste (MSW) sorting step by step. The coverage of MSW sorting demonstration areas has reached 60% of the city. Four more waste disposal facilities have been put into use, increasing the handling capacity by 4,500 tons per day.
We stay responsive to the call of the people. The "respond to whistles" mechanism has been further advanced through reform, led by CPC organizations, by which authorities at the sub-district (township) level can "whistle" for higher authorities of law enforcement in case of a pressing local issue. The higher authorities at the municipal and district levels are required to respond to local complaints without delay, in a coordinated effort with the sub-district (township), to cover the last mile in delivering public services. Their responses are increasingly evaluated along both departmental and sectoral lines. In 2019, we received 2.52 million calls of public complaints, 75% of which had been properly addressed, up from 53.1%, with a public satisfaction rate at 87.3%, up from 64.6%.
Government agencies at the sub-district level have been consolidated. More emphasis has been placed on governance at primary levels, to whom more resources are allocated. A system has been created to restrict higher authorities from passing service responsibilities to communities so as to reduce the workload of community workers and increase their remuneration. The "I Participate" initiative at the Hui-Tian area has expanded its service scope. Municipal SOEs, social organizations, private businesses and think tanks are encouraged to participate in community services. This is an effort to develop a long-term governance mechanism for large communities.
Seventh, we have continued to maintain and improve people's wellbeing.
Measures have been implemented to stabilize employment. We have utilized 9.67 billion yuan of unemployment insurance fund to support job positions in businesses and promote employment. Vocational training programs have been organized that benefited 600,000 people and 351,000 urban jobs have been created. A special operation has been carried out to fundamentally address wage arrears for rural migrant workers and enforcement against arrears are carried out regularly around the year.
Applications for household registration in Beijing through the point-based system can be made online, and 6,007 people's applications were granted in 2019.
Another 20 elderly-care centers and 160 elderly service stations at the sub-district (township) level have been set up. The latest subsidy and allowance system for elderly services covers more than 750,000 senior citizens. Social relief standards have been raised. The average urban and rural subsistence allowances have increased to 1,100 yuan per month, registering a growth of 10%.
1.16 billion yuan of living allowances and nursing care subsidies have been provided to over 320,000 people in difficulties or with severe disabilities. We have taken preventive and control measures against African swine fever, and addressed price hikes of meat and other food items by encouraging direct connection between farmers and supermarkets and between producers and distributors. We have twice allocated funding to increase government reserves and provided temporary subsidies of 80 million yuan to 6 categories of disadvantaged groups.
We have implemented the long-term real estate market regulatory policy, formulated in accordance with the requirement that "each city should tailor-make its policy", to stabilize land and housing prices and price expectations. The price indexes for new commercial housing and resale were within expectation throughout the year, signaling a stable real estate market. We built or made available 50,200 units of government-subsidized rental housing, started construction of 66,800 units of government-subsidized affordable housing, and renovated housing for 16,300 households in run-down areas, more than fulfilling last year's targets. 14,000 units of public rental housing were allocated. Another 15 projects that will provide 12,300 units of "shared ownership housing" were launched.
Housing difficulties for migrant workers such as express deliverers have been addressed by speeding up the construction of rental dormitories. Renovation has started of all dilapidated housing for four main disadvantaged groups in rural areas. 555 lifts have been installed in old residential buildings. The living conditions of the people have continued to improve.
We have increased investment in education and raised the performance-based pay as a percentage of the salary of primary and secondary school teachers and adjusted the distribution methods. Affordable kindergartens have been better regulated and problems of community-affiliated kindergartens rectified, and over 30,000 places have been added. An additional 100 primary and secondary schools have joined reputable educational groups. We have introduced campus safety regulations for primary and secondary schools and kindergartens, formulated 10 measures to prevent and control myopia among children and adolescents, achieved full coverage of "post-15:30" after school services for primary and junior high school students and carried out a special operation to regulate after-school tutoring institutions. Supports have been given to institutes of higher learning in Beijing that are on the "Double First Class" lists to build them into world-class universities and develop first-class disciplines. Development Councils have been set up at Shahe and Liangxiang University Towns to align the strengths of universities with the new towns' development needs, integrate research with education, and enhance collaboration between industries and universities.
We have advanced the comprehensive reform of medical consumables with "five key measures". Nearly 3,700 medical institutions have abolished consumables price mark-ups, and 6,621 medical services have been readjusted and properly-regulated. We have raised the ceiling on hospitalization reimbursement for medical insurance beneficiaries and the reimbursement rate of serious illness insurance. 40 measures have been introduced to improve medical services, including time slots-based appointments. Medical services provided at community-level clinics have grown by over 10%, which is a notable progress in the multi-tiered diagnosis and treatment system.
We have fully implemented the national pilot policy on joint drug procurement and use, which has brought down prices of jointly purchased drugs by over 50% on average. A pre-hospital first aid system is being built to ensure unified management and standardize services. Another 42 first-aid stations have been built and 95% of emergency calls have been served. Public health services have been improved. Beijing ranks first in China in the number of voluntary blood donors and the growth of donation volume. We have achieved full coverage of health care services in rural areas.
We have made solid progress in public cultural services. 23,000 local culture activities were held and 2,500 commercial performances organized with subsidized tickets. Support has been given to brick-and-mortar bookstores through rental subsidies, rewards and government procurement, benefiting 239 stores. Artistic creation continued to thrive and a number of high-quality cultural works were produced, including the blockbuster The Wandering Earth and the award-winning dance drama the Railway to Tibet. We have named 57 "fitness-for-all" model sub-districts and "sports towns", paved over 150 kilometers of fitness trails, and successfully held Beijing Sports Games, the Fitness-for-all Sport Festival and other sports activities.
Precision poverty alleviation has been carried out to address key challenges in the basic living needs of poor rural population and ensure their access to compulsory education, basic medical services and housing. We have strengthened poverty alleviation collaboration with the western region of China through paired assistance. A municipal budgetary input of 5.73 billion yuan has been provided for the implementation of 1,839 projects, expected to lift 506,000 people out of poverty. Plain areas and the eco-conservation areas have been paired up for collaboration. Disposable income per capita of low-income rural households has grown by about 20%, noticeably faster than that of urban residents.
Safety has improved in all aspects of the city, thanks to deepened reform in the emergency management system and a three-year action plan for eliminating safety hazards. Over 12,000 safety hazards have been removed. Workplace safety related accidents and deaths have fallen by 11.6% and 12.3% respectively.
We have improved the two coordinating mechanisms for local financial regulation and risk management, better managed government debts, and improved the procedure for preventing and defusing risks. We have launched special rectification campaigns to address internet financial risks and continued to take tough measures against illegal fund-raising, and the fiscal and financial risks are on the whole under control. We have strengthened accountability for food safety and extended the coverage of the "Sunshine Catering" project to all dining halls of primary and secondary schools, kindergartens and elderly care institutions.
Activities were organized under the "year to reduce the backlog of complaints" and the network of risk screening and mitigation has been improved. We have strengthened efforts to ensure a safe Beijing. We improved and upgraded the "six measures" to combat and prevent terrorism, intensified the special campaign to root out organized crimes and local mafia, and cracked down on illegal activities and criminal offenses such as pornography, gambling, drug-related crimes, human trafficking and fraud. Complaints about unlicensed one-day tours have gone down by 87%. Stability and harmony have been maintained in Beijing.
We have fully supported the reform of national defense and armed forces and launched a number of initiatives to promote defense mobilization and mutual support between the military and civilians. 6,999 veteran service centers and stations have been opened at the municipal, county, township and village levels. A veteran service system has been basically established. Social programs for women and children have made headway. Work related to ethnic minorities, religion, and overseas Chinese has been strengthened.
Eighth, the government has strengthened efforts to improve itself in all aspects.
We have launched the thematic education campaign to remind ourselves of our party's founding mission in accordance with the requirements of the CPC Central Committee and the arrangement of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee. The practice of establishing direct contact with the people has been followed and field studies at the local level conducted. Unannounced inspections will become a regular practice. Under the principle of "immediate rectification", we have launched a vigorous campaign to address "eight types of improper conducts" and rectify problems in planning and natural resources administration and in university moral education. We have formulated guidelines for the CPC group of the Beijing municipal government to assume responsibilities for enforcing full and strict Party discipline, with a view to tightening Party discipline in government agencies at all levels.
We have implemented all resolutions and decisions adopted by the Municipal People's Congress and its standing committee, and readily subjected ourselves to the oversight of the Municipal People's Congress in terms of duty performance and legality of actions. We also put our work under the oversight of the Municipal CPPCC Committee and the municipal supervisory department. We processed 4 motions and 954 suggestions submitted by deputies to the Municipal People's Congress and 1,053 proposals submitted by Municipal CPPCC Committee members. We submitted 6 local regulations to the standing committee of the Municipal People's Congress for adoption, and formulated, revised or revoked 16 administrative rules. We have fully adopted the information disclosure system for administrative law enforcement, the practice of recording the whole process of law enforcement operations, and the approval system for key law enforcement decisions. As a result, there is significant improvement in ensuring due process in law enforcement.
We have been mentally prepared for a tight budget. General expenditures have been cut by 10%; cost-performance analysis has been done on a pilot basis to 29 projects; auditing and supervision have been strengthened. This has led to better efficiency of government budgetary expenditure. We have successfully completed our part of the fourth national economic census. We have continued to execute Beijing's "big data" action plan by standardizing municipal-level administrative functions, data catalogues and data items. A "catalogue blockchain" has been set up, where government data is uploaded to the cloud, allowing the safe sharing of government and public service information. We have curbed unnecessary formalities and bureaucracy. Documents issued and meetings held by the municipal government were cut by 38.6% and 33.8% respectively. Government performance evaluation items have been reduced from 75 to 21.
Our achievements over the past year have not come easily due to emerging risks and challenges at home and abroad. The achievements are attributable to the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee led by General-Secretary Xi Jinping and the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. They are also the results of hard work and concerted efforts of the entire city under the leadership of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee.
Here, on behalf of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality, I would like to express our gratitude to all people of Beijing, to deputies of the Municipal People's Congress and members of the CPPCC Beijing Municipal Committee, to other political parties, people's organizations and personages from all sectors of society, to all CPC central organs and central government departments, to other municipalities, provinces, and autonomous regions, to officers as well as rank-and-file members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and the People's Armed Police Force based in Beijing, and to our fellow countrymen and women in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and to overseas Chinese and international friends who have cared for and given support to the capital's development.
While we are aware of our achievements, we should also be cool-headed that the global economy continues to slow down, and China is at a crucial stage of transforming its growth model, improving its economic structure, and fostering new drivers of growth. There are also challenges in renewing our city and achieving high-quality growth.
Our main challenges include the following. Downward pressure on the economy continues to increase, adding to the difficulties in maintaining a balanced budget. Our home-grown innovation capabilities are inadequate to support industrial development and the potential of consumption is yet to be fully tapped, so we need to foster new growth drivers. Tensions between population size, resources available and environmental capacity remain acute. We need to address the "big city syndromes" and prevent and control pollution. Problems caused by unbalanced and inadequate public services remain, and there's still big room for improvement in ensuring people's well-being. Much has to be done before there can be a more efficient governance system for the capital and we can have stronger institutions and governance capabilities.
In the meantime, unnecessary formality and bureaucracy remain to varying degrees, and some officials fail to work effectively toward quality development due to either incompetence or weak commitment. These issues must be taken seriously and tackled with effective measures.