Plans to make governments at county level and above compile lists of the powers they possess have been welcomed by an expert who described the initiative as a “great step forward” as the nation updates its system of governance.
Wang Yukai, a public administration professor at the China National School of Administration, said: “Making lists of government powers is intended to streamline administrative procedures and delegate powers to lower levels. The lists will facilitate the nation’s efforts to build clean governments.”
A timetable for the exercise, part of efforts to cut red tape and improve administrative efficiency, was set by the central government on March 24. Provincial governments have to compile the lists, which must be made available to the public, by the end of the year. Governments at city and county levels will need to complete the task by the end of next year.
Wang said the initiative was launched by the State Council in March 2013, and the lists will be drawn up in accordance with the requirements set out in the timetable.
In 2013, 416 powers held by the State Council were abolished or delegated to lower-level governments. Last year, 246 items were cut.
A total of 348 administrative fees were canceled, thus reducing the burden on businesses by more than 150 billion yuan ($24 billion), according to the central government’s 2013 work report.
As a result, the number of newly registered businesses increased by 27.6 percent nationwide, and private investment accounted for 63 percent of the country’s total investment in 2013.
The central government pledged in its latest Government Work Report, issued two weeks ago, to further streamline administrative procedures by cutting bureaucratic inefficiency.
Some regions are at the forefront of the initiative to scale back government administration.
In Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, more than 40 percent of government powers have already been dropped.