"The economic growth target will definitely be lowered. A target of 7 percent is more appropriate."
Officials are expected to argue that a lower growth target provides the opportunity to overhaul state firms, laws and the fiscal system.
They hope to transform the world's second-largest economy away from the export- and investment-led model that powered three decades of rapid expansion into one that is driven by more sustainable domestic consumption.
But with fears of deflation rising - annual consumer inflation plumbed a five-year low of 0.8 percent in January - there is also a need to step in to support the economy, evidenced by two interest rates cuts since late November.
The latest cuts to benchmark lending and deposit rates, announced by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) on Saturday, pre-empted official data showing a second consecutive month of shrinking manufacturing activity.
Read MoreAfter rate cut, what's next from PBOC?
A rate cut makes debt servicing more manageable, a big issue in China where debt surged amid the stimulus spree launched in the wake of the global financial crisis, and freeing up cash may help ward off deflation.
But it does not necessarily advance the reform process.
The biggest beneficiaries of lower borrowing costs would be big state-run firms such as Air China. The national flag carrier has a debt-to-asset ratio of 72 percent, its 2013 annual report showed.
In the long run however, state companies like Air China are still plagued by deeper problems such as inflexible hiring and firing rules for employees, and a lack of currency hedging expertise that exposes airlines to foreign exchange risks.
One of the biggest challenges is getting local governments to implement Beijing's reforms. Bad debt levels have climbed as the economy has stuttered, heaping pressure on local governments and state-owned companies and prompting some to push back on more stressful changes.