Following are the highlights of a plan on the State Council institutional reform and transformation of government functions delivered Sunday to the annual session of the National People's Congress, the top legislature.
According to the program, China will:
-- dissolve the Railway Ministry, with its administrative powers incorporated into the Ministry of Transport. The China Railway Corporation will take over the Railway Ministry's commercial functions;
-- set up the National Health and Family Planning Commission through merging the existing Health Ministry with the National Population and Family Planning Commission;
-- elevate the status of the State Administration of Food and Drug to a general administration in order to improve food and drug safety;
-- merge its two media regulators, the General Administration of Press and Publication and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, into one to oversee the country's press, publication, radio, film and television sectors;
-- restructure the country's top oceanic administration to enhance maritime law enforcement and strengthen protection and use of its oceanic resources; and
-- restructure the National Energy Administration in order to streamline administrative and regulatory system of the energy sector.
On the transformation of government functions, the plan says that the government will:
-- cut, reduce or simplify the review and approval of investment projects to minimize the inconvenience and high costs involved when enterprises and individuals are trying to obtain the services they require and boost their independence to start a business or make an investment;
-- separate industrial associations and chambers of commerce from administrative departments, and introduce a competitive mechanism with multiple associations to the same industry to boost their independence and vitality;
-- reduce special transfer payment for designated purposes to local regions through budgeted appropriation, while increase the funding of local governments through general transfer payment to boost local government's fiscal strength to fulfill their duties;
-- integrate identical or similar institutional functions into a sole government department, such as the registry of housing, forest, grassland and land, which currently belongs to different government agencies;
-- break industrial monopoly and administrative hurdles that hamper the circulation of goods and service, and maintain an open and unified domestic market to ensure fairness and orderly competition;
-- increase the government procurement of services and give fair treatment to social organizations in supplying medical care, health, education, culture and community services;
-- establish a unified real estate registry regime to protect the security of property transactions and effectively protect the legal rights of property owners, while setting up a unified social credit code system based on resident ID card numbers and codes for organizations and institutions.
(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2013)