State Council further simplifies approval process

Updated: 2014-01-09 01:02

By XU WEI (China Daily)

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The central government announced on Wednesday that it will eliminate or transfer another 70 administrative approval items to lower levels this year, as part of a move to further simplify approval procedures.

The items to be eliminated or transferred to lower levels fall under river transport, telecommunications, online higher education and qualification of employees in the insurance and accounting industries, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

All central government departments must announce the list of items for administrative approval for public supervision. The departments cannot add new approval items to the list by themselves.

The central government will gradually switch to the "negative list" approach in the administrative approval and items from the list will be decided by social entities, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the central government will also clear up and gradually cancel non-administrative approval items of different departments. Those necessary to keep will be upgraded to administrative approval items.

The government will enhance its role as a supervisor in addition to eliminating administrative approvals, the statement said.

The decision in the State Council executive meeting is part of an effort to implement the decisions of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which convened in November, said Wu Hui, an associate professor of governance at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

According to a decision during the plenary session, the market will be given a "decisive role" in allocating resources.

"The move by the State Council will give the market, as well as social entities, more say in the near future," he said.

Wu said previously some government departments put too much effort in the administrative approval process while ignoring its role as a supervisor during the course of operation and afterward.

"For instance, previously the drug administration was approving all the new drugs while ignoring its job of quality checks of drugs on the market. That is how fake drugs began to appear on the market," he said.

For some officials, the most attractive part was the approval process, which means more power and more space for corruption, he said, adding that there is much less motivation for officials to assume their duties in the supervision process.

However, Wu warned that the government should take full responsibility as a supervisor as it eliminates the approval process because the market cannot be effective all the time.