Streamlining administration and delegating more power to lower-level governments
Streamlining administration means solving the problems of government having g overlapping functions, being overstaffed and impeding each other, and the problems of an inadequate supply of social public goods and services and low government efficiency.
Delegating more power to lower-level governments means solving the problems of subjecting too many economic activities to government approval, having complicated approval procedures and taking too long to approve them, and solving the problems of the government managing things it should not manage and poorly managing things it should manage.
The current Chinese government has made it a top priority to accelerate the functional transformation of government and the streamlining of administration and delegation of more power to lower-level governments.
By the end of 2013, the government had abolished or delegated to lower levels several times a total of 416 items previously subject to State Council review and approval. In 2014, the government will abolish or delegate to lower levels more than 200 items currently subject to State Council review and approval.
The key for transforming government functions is to strive for a proper balance between delegation and control. “To delegate” is to activate the market, not to let things run loose while “to control” means to exercise appropriate management, not to bring things to stagnation.
Streamlining administration and delegating more power means better defining the relationship between the government and the market, allowing the market to play a better role in allocating resources, and ultimately promoting reform, adjusting the structure and improving people’s lives.
The focus of administrative management procedures will shift from prior approval to mid-event control and subsequent supervision. This does not mean a reduction in the workload of the government. On the contrary, it means that the government must work more carefully and exercise more effective oversight and supervision.
This change in work method imposes higher requirements on government departments: they should not only change their attitude but also become more competent, take the initiative to study how the market works, have foresight, encourage whatever helps the market develop, and change whatever undermines its development.