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Excerpts from policy briefing on Feb 7

Updated: Feb 8,2017 5:40 PM

Li Pumin, secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission, Shen Xiaoming, vice minister of education, Dai Bohua, assistant finance minister, and Cui Li, vice minister of the Family Planning Commission, were invited to talk about proposals from members of the National People’s Congress and members of the People’s Political Consultation Conference, at a State Council policy briefing on Feb 7.

Dealing with proposals

Li Pumin explained the four main mechanisms for proposals. First, a meeting would be held after the “two sessions” each year, which stipulates specific measures to ensure the implementation of proposals. Second, each NDRC department and bureau responsible for the proposals will select a liaison officer to coordinate and report work regarding the proposals. Third, an inspection and monitoring system is established to supervise implementation. Fourth, NDRC sets up a rewarding system to encourage efficient and solid implementation of the proposals.

In addition, modern information technologies are being applied to improve efficiency as NDRC has developed an information system to handle the proposals as early as 2003, he said.

In 2006, NDRC successfully dealt with 3,090 proposals, among which 2,239 were NPC proposals and 851 were from CPPCC.

By dealing with the assigned proposals, NDRC made big progress in promoting structural supply-side reform, the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development, Yangtze River economic belt, and other reforms regarding urbanization, infrastructure construction, environment protection, and investment system, according to Li.

Promoting finance reform

The Ministry of Finance would listen to every suggestion raised by legislators and political advisers and promote finance reform accordingly, said Dai Bohua.

Authorities have taken measures to enhance the efficiency of handling suggestions and communicating with legislators and political advisers, he said.

More research was conducted, especially on proposals of wide concern by the public.

In addition, a supervision mechanism was set up to track the implementation of suggestions. Officials have to report the progress of their work at regular intervals.

In 2016, the ministry handled 4,212 suggestions and proposals, 129 more than a year earlier, he said.

For example, based on 52 suggestions on strengthening the management of scientific research funds, the government issued a circular to expand the autonomy of universities and research institutions in terms of the management of research funds, procurement of scientific equipment, and infrastructure projects.

In recent years, over 90 percent of suggestions raised by legislators and political advisers focused on finance reform, macroeconomic control and improving people’s lives. We will work harder to handle them well, he said.

Policies driven by suggestions

Last year, the Ministry of Education handled a total of 1,828 proposals, among which 1,023 were from NPC representatives and 805 were from CPPCC members, with every issue completely resolved, according to Shen Xiaoming.

For example, the ministry in 2016 has carried out several major policies involving these proposals, such as the 13th Five-Year Plan on education, Modernization of Education 2030, and Three-Year Action Plan for preschool education; other policies were directly driven by these suggestions, such as a measure that clarifies that colleges in the eastern region are not encouraged to introduce talent, especially teachers from central western and north eastern regions, an effort to promote a more balanced development in educational resources.

During the process of handling proposals, the Ministry of Education has seen great results in pushing forward educational reform, as well as resolving difficult issues.

To make better use of suggestions from NPC representatives and CPPCC members, the ministry has been exploring a working mechanism, requiring that each document, case or event be examined carefully and in a timely manner, and be recorded in one unified notebook. Carrying out special surveys, symposiums and personal visits was also underlined, to strengthen communication between the ministry and representatives. In addition, to enhance transparency, the ministry has publicly released results of over 1,000 cases in 2016.

This year, the Ministry of Education vows more efforts in handling proposals from representatives, to respond to the requirements of the 163rd State Council executive meeting.

Focusing on building Healthy China

According to Cui Li, the National Health and Family Planning Commission received 1,512 suggestions and closed 897 cases on various healthcare issues from NPC delegates and CPPCC members in 2016. Delegates’ satisfaction on the commission’s work on those suggestions was 99.67 percent, which is the best in recent years.

The commission’s work concerning processing the suggestions in 2016 mainly focused on the following aspects.

First, set up a mechanism to process suggestions. A working group led by leaders from the commission to process the suggestions was established. Collecting, reporting, distributing and processing the suggestions were supervised by the group to make sure all the replies meet a high standard. Also, delegates of NPC and CPPCC were invited to attend symposiums held by the commission so that their voices could be heard by the policy makers.

Second, innovate the processing method. Coordination and communication in processing were improved during the year. Delegates were regularly given policy documents and brief work reports from the commission. Telephone interviews, emails, visits, symposiums, investigations and research were used during the process. The commission also used information technology to record the work, optimize the procedures and improve the efficiency.

Third, promote the publicity of results and speed up the process of changing suggestions into real policy. The commission openly replied to 66 percent of the suggestions in 2016, almost five times the rate in 2015. It also established special research groups to study the suggestions and summarized the top 10 questions of the year for related departments and agencies’ reference. The “Outline of Healthy China 2030” was prepared by the commission and about 20 departments, with many suggestions taken into consideration, and was released in October 2016. The commission also responded to suggestions to increase people’s access to medical treatment by launching action plans to improve medical services in the past three years.

“Focusing on building a Healthy China, the commission will keep addressing the public health demand, taking into public advice and taking more effective measures to maintain the people’s health,” said Cui.