In response to the mounting public complaints about a widening wealth gap, Wen promised on Monday that the government will take measures to increase people's incomes, especially those with low and middle incomes.
Official statistics show that urban residents' annual average income is three times that of the rural residents. The former reached 11,759 yuan in 2006, while the latter stood at a mere 3,587 yuan.
In a draft report delivered to the lawmakers on Monday, the State Development and Reform Commission said it will "appropriately raise the labor share in the primary distribution of income" and "further standardize income distribution in state-owned enterprises and institutions, especially in monopoly industries."
The Chinese top economic planning group also said that it will improve tax collection and management and raise taxes for high- income earners.
"China is suffering the heavy burden left over by the planned economy and all those problems concern social harmony and stability," said Li Dun, a professor with the Research Center on Contemporary China under the Tsinghua University.
"Those goals (outlined by Premier Wen) cannot be easily achieved by solely depending on the central government. More public participation and supervision are needed. Government accountability should also be heightened," Li said.
Outlining the government's major tasks in 2007, the last year of its five-year term, Wen said the government expects to keep the economy growth at about eight percent, based on structural improvement, reduced consumption of energy, and better environmental protection.
Last year, China failed to reach its pollution control targets, and experts attributed the failure to a faster-than-expected 10.7 percent GDP growth and higher energy consumption.
Listing a series of measures to cut energy consumption, Wen promised to the lawmakers that the government will make greater efforts in energy saving, environmental protection, and the protection of arable land so as to change the country's economic growth pattern.
In his six-part report, the premier also briefed the lawmakers about the government's plan on economic and financial reforms and measures to improve governance.
Monday's session was chaired by chairman of the NPC Standing Committee Wu Bangguo.
Top Party and state leaders Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun and Luo Gan were present when the session opened at 9:00 AM Beijing time.
Also tabled to the lawmakers on Monday were reports on the implementation of the 2006 plan for national economic and social development and on the 2007 draft plan for national economic and social development, and a report on the central and local budgets.
During the 11.5-day meeting, NPC deputies will also deliberate on two major law drafts -- a draft property law which grants equal protection to public and private properties, and the draft of a unified corporate tax law which levies equal taxation for domestic and overseas-funded companies.