China targeted economic growth of approximately 7% in 2015, lower than the goal of around 7.5% in 2014, according to a government work report in the National People's Congress which began its 10 day annual session on Thursday.
The growth target for 2015 is also lower than the 7.4% economic growth rate registered in 2014, its weakest annual expansion since 1990.
In the 35 years between 1978 and 2013, annual growth of the Chinese economy averaged close to 10%. However, the 'good old days' had to end, with growth decelerating to 7.7% in 2012 and 2013.
If the forecasts are accurate, India will be recording faster GDP growth than China for the first time in the 21st century.
India's growth targets are now significantly higher than China's, at 8-8.5% for 2015-16, announced in the latest budget a week ago.
Premier Li Keqiang signalled that the lowest rate of growth in a quarter of a century is the "new normal" for the world's No.2 economy.
Speaking at the opening of the country's annual parliamentary meeting on Thursday, Li announced a growth target of around 7 percent for this year, below the 7.5 percent goal that was narrowly missed in 2014.
"The downward pressure on China's economy is intensifying," Li told around 3,000 delegates gathered at the Great Hall of the People to the west of Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
"Deep-seated problems in the country's economic development are becoming more obvious. The difficulties we are facing this year could be bigger than last year. The new year is a crucial year for deepening all-round reforms."