China will set up five new "super ministries" in a new round of government institutional restructuring, and a plan for the reshuffle was submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC), or parliament, for deliberation on Tuesday afternoon.
According to the plan, the five new "super ministries" are the ministry of industry and information, the ministry of human resources and social security, the ministry of environmental protection, the ministry of housing and urban-rural construction, and the ministry of transport.
To strengthen the government management on the energy sector, a high-level inter-ministerial consultation and coordinating body, the national energy commission, is also to be established, with a national bureau of energy to be set up as its working office under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The new bureau will integrate the NDRC's functions relating to energy management, the functions of the National Energy Leading Group and the functions of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense on nuclear power management.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health will be empowered with the function to oversee food and drug safety.
The State Council will have 27 ministries and commissions apart from the General Office after the reshuffle, compared with the present 28.
President Hu Jintao vowed to accelerate the reform of the administrative system and build a service-oriented government at the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last year.
"We must lose no time in working out a master plan for it," Hu said in October.
At the beginning of the NPC session, Premier Wen Jiabao labeled reform of the administrative system as "an important link in deepening reform, an important part of the reform of political institutions, and an essential step in improving the socialist market economy."
State Councilor Hua Jianmin, also secretary general of the Cabinet, made explanations of the plan to the NPC.
On the necessity of the reform, Hua said in the report that functions of government have not been completely transformed, with public administration and public services being still weak; Structure of government institutions is not rational enough; Powers in some regards were too concentrated and lack due oversight and checks.
(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2008)