Public institution reform on course

Experts said the reform of public institutions is underway in China and praised the government's pledge to deepen reform, in an effort to transform government functioning, after a reform road map was recently unveiled by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

The detailed plan to comprehensively deepen reform in China was released on Friday after it was approved at the key Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee last week.

Wang Feng, deputy director of the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform, said on Sunday that the reform is underway as per plan, with the classification of those institutions affiliated to the State Council, mostly complete.

According to Wang, the reform aims to offer better public services. The government will pay for more public services while encouraging public service units to separate from the government and become enterprises and social organizations.

Similar to government departments but contrary to private businesses, public institutions in China are financed by the national budget and do not have their own earnings. They cover sectors such as education, science, culture, health, agriculture, forestry, water conservation and the media.

The State Council had issued a guideline in 2012 in which it was outlined that an efficient, clearly-defined and regulated mechanism for public institutions by 2020 should be established.

The State Council set 2015 as the deadline for completion of the classification of public institutions, by when institutions with administrative roles should be merged into government bodies and those with business operations gradually transformed into enterprises.

Those providing social services would retain their status as public institutions with further strengthening of their welfare roles.

The reform of public institutions such as schools, research facilities and hospitals will not impact social welfare benefits enjoyed by staffers, experts said.

Zhu Lijia, director of Public Administration Studies at the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times, why the reform is favored.

"The administrative ranks in those institutions are a product of the planned economy and have acquired power-oriented issues. When staff in those institutions begin to pursue official positions, their work efficiency suffers," Zhu said.

Modern management systems, such as having a board of directors, should be introduced, he added.

Zhu's opinion was echoed by Nie Gaomin, director of Economic Structure and Management Institute with the National Development and Reform Commission, who told the Global Times on Monday that China should also work to remove official-oriented ideas in peoples' minds.


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