China unveils government restructuring plans
Beijing: China on Sunday revamped its bloated government structure by reducing the cabinet-level entities, including the corruption-ridden Railways Ministry, to cut down red tape and boost economy as a new government headed by Xi Jinping is set to take over.
Several other departments and agencies will also be reorganised, according to the the new policy unveiled by State Councilor Ma Kai during the session of its legislature, the National People`s Congress (NPC).
Under the new plan, the number of Ministries will be reduced from 27 to 25.
The changes, which aim to cut down on red tape and reduce administrative intervention in the market and social issues, were made coinciding with once-in-a-decade leadership change in the country as a new government headed by Xi, 59, prepares to take charge from President Hu Jintao next week.
The Ministry of Railways, having faced flak for undertaking the twin jobs of providing train services and serving as a watchdog, will now have separate administrative and commercial arms.
The Railways Ministry has faced numerous problems over the past few years, including heavy debts from funding new high-speed lines, waste and fraud. The government has pledged to open the rail industry to private investment on an unprecedented scale.
The railway administration will be supervised by the Ministry of Transport while the proposed China Railway Corporation will run its commercial functions, Ma said.
Two media regulators, the General Administration of Press and Publication and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, will be merged into one to oversee the country`s press, publication, radio, film and television sectors.
The Health Ministry and the National Population and Family Planning Commission will be merged into a new National Health and Family Planning Commission.
The status of the existing State Administration of Food and Drug will be elevated to a general administration in an attempt to improve food and drug safety.
China also plans to bring its maritime law enforcement forces, currently scattered in different ministries, under the unified management of one single administration.
The move comes as China has initiated aggressive patrols to reaffirm its claims of sovereignty in South China Sea while clashing with Japan over the disputed islands in East China Sea.
In addition, the National Energy Administration will be restructured to streamline administrative and regulatory system of the energy sector.
Xi, 59, the new leader of the ruling Communist Party of China, (CPC) is set to take over as President next week following the retirement of the outgoing leader, Hu Jintao.
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