Pushing forward reforms

Updated: 2013-05-27 07:10

(China Daily)

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The reform priorities outlined by the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, are meant to streamline its economic structure and bureaucracy as a way of promoting its economic transformation and steady growth.

That the commission on Friday made public 22 major tasks in seven key fields in a guideline to deepen economic reform demonstrates the authorities' greater courage and confidence in putting themselves under public oversight.

Deepening administrative reform, including restructuring government functions, reducing its approval power and innovation of public services, is top of the agenda. There have been loud calls that the government should reduce its intervention in economic activities and give the market a bigger role to inject more vigor into the economy, especially at a time when China's economy is on an irreversible trajectory of deceleration.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, has abrogated or delegated to lower levels of government 133 administrative approval items since it took office in March.

Friday's wide-ranging guideline also lists resource-tax reform and reform in the financial sector aimed at establishing a market-oriented interest rates mechanism and the convertibility of the country's capital account. At the same time, it also pledges reform of the hukou, or household registration system, the expansion of the personal property tax being piloted in Shanghai and Chongqing to other regions, as well as a push for a gradual integration of the urban-rural basic healthcare system.

China's economy is shifting onto a slower track with the subsiding of its demographic dividend and investment and export-driven dividends. And an extensive consensus has been formed throughout society that reforms in key areas should be deepened to help release more institutional dividends as a new force for further economic growth.

Further reforms will inevitably meet fierce opposition and obstruction from established interests. But reforms move the country forward, while a lack of reforms means moving backward.

The commission's all-inclusive guideline offers an alluring prospect of pushing forward the reforms and we hope they will be effectively implemented within the given time frame.