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NPC to review streamline plan

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

08:18, March 01, 2013

A government reorganization plan, targeting bureaucracy in the economy, will be presented to lawmakers for review at the upcoming legislative session, the top leadership announced on Thursday.

The draft plan, circulated and approved at the second plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee, aims to streamline government agencies that may have overlapping functions and generally reduce red tape, experts said.

The plan aims to make the functioning of the State Council more efficient.

A list of candidates for State leadership positions will also be discussed by lawmakers during the annual plenary session of the National People's Congress, which opens on March 5.

This will complete a power transition that began in November when Xi Jinping was elected Party leader.

It has become conventional practice for the top legislative body to discuss government plans for restructuring at plenary sessions every five years, a timeframe that coincides with a new government coming into office.

According to a statement released after the meeting, government reorganization will include reducing procedures, especially concerning investment and production, subject to government approval.

It has also pledged to avoid any potential duplication of duties and responsibilities and transform the management of groups involved in social affairs.

Zhu Lijia, a professor of government administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the two-day meeting has once again stressed the importance of cutting red tape. This is the lever, Zhu said, of allowing more market flexibility.

He said the reform to streamline administration and delegate power to lower level government will encourage the market at a time when China's economic prospects are being buffeted by headwinds from the global slowdown.

The move will finalize a decadelong campaign by the central government to clean up its over-regulated administrative approval system, which has led to unnecessary intervention and corruption.

Cutting back the red tape in the approval process has already been introduced on a trial basis.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee, the State's top legislative body, approved a three-year pilot program in Guangdong in December allowing the southern province to temporarily cut bureaucracy for procedures subject to government approval.

The program, if proved successful, will be introduced to other areas, said Ma Wen, minister of supervision in December.

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