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State Council reveals task list for 5 years

By ZHAO YINAN  (China Daily)

13:17, March 30, 2013

The State Council has set out its task list for the next five years, in a move experts describe as laying the cornerstone for modern social governance and a market economy.

Missions on the list include setting up a nationwide real estate registration system, an Internet real-name registration system and a social credibility system.

The document, released on Thursday, follows the government restructuring and change of functions endorsed on March 14. It provides for division of work, and designates specific tasks to be completed by central government departments ahead of a deadline.

The document outlines 29 tasks that must be completed this year, out of the 72 that must be finished by 2017 — the end of the State Council's five-year term of office.

Mao Shoulong, a professor at Renmin University of China's Public Administration and Policy School, said real estate registration, Internet real-name registration and social credibility systems are fundamental groundwork to ensure the smooth functioning of a civil society and market economy.

"Only when a complete information network is set up can social credibility play its role in economic and social activities. The fact that China has fallen behind in building a social credibility system has dented the country's competitiveness in the global market," he said.

He said a social credibility system includes vital information about individuals, such as social insurance, tax records and traffic violations, while information on real estate and Internet use supplements the credibility network.

"Although there was also a similar document about job allocation in 2008, in the last round of government restructuring, that document was not released to the public," he said.

Publication of the document forces departments under the State Council and local governments to carry out the government restructuring plan in a timely manner and enable the central government to punish officials who fail to carry out their tasks, he said.

"It is a lesson being drawn from previous practice. Upgraded governance techniques and information technology have ensured the smooth implementation of the plan at local levels."

Property registration

Experts said the real estate registration system, which must be set up by the end of June next year, will pave the way for the nationwide implementation of a property tax and help combat corruption.

Liang Huixing, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the system is crucial.

"The current registration system is not sound. For instance, in different places the registration is conducted by different government department."

He said registration should be conducted by the same department nationwide.

Although the call to set up such a uniform system has been longstanding, Liang said the work has somehow been delayed due to divided opinion among different authorities.

Houses covered by limited property rights, which refers to those built on collectively owned rural land but sold to buyers who are not part of the collective land ownership, are one of the difficulties the authorities are facing.

"The authorities have to work out a solution regarding these properties" Liang said.

Yi Xianrong, an economist and former researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said full-scale real estate registration is the basis of property taxes, and will make for a healthy housing market.

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