The ruling Communist Party yesterday unveiled a broad economic development blueprint for the next five years which listed, for the first time, the twin goals of economic growth and improving people's lives as China's central tasks. This signals a new phase for the economy, focusing on social equity and harmony after more than 25 years of torrid growth that has led to widening income gaps and growing social discontent. The communique released at the end of the plenum of the party's Central Committee fully embraced President Hu Jintao's so-called 'people first' platform. It included all his favourite themes: a scientific approach to economic development, innovation and social harmony. This means Mr Hu prefers more sustainable economic growth over past policies of blindly pursuing growth at the expense of the environment and with no thought to preserving energy resources. As this plenum was Mr Hu's first since the full retirement of predecessor Jiang Zemin, the communique is another indication of his rising power and strong party support for his vision. Despite intense speculation by some overseas media, no personnel reshuffle was announced at the end of the plenum. Ironically, this will probably set off more speculation over the so-called political jockeying between Mr Hu and Mr Jiang and whether the latter has thwarted the president's efforts to remove his predecessor's allies - such as Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu - or his efforts to promote his own proteges - such as Liaoning party secretary Li Keqiang . But for Mr Hu, securing full support for the economic blueprint may have been too important to risk the distraction of a messy squabble over personnel. Looking at it from another angle, getting the blueprint of his vision passed with the full support of the party's top brass is perhaps the biggest indication that Mr Hu is firmly in control. The blueprint says all the right things for many who were worried about the leadership's determination and courage to push ahead with difficult reforms. For one, it says the reform process is the driving force for economic and social development, and more determination is needed to push ahead with government, financial, fiscal and tax reforms.