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Govt offers better services amid Internet Plus drive

Updated: Aug 11,2015 8:23 PM

Streamlining administration and delegating power have, under the Internet Plus drive, played a significant role in pushing forward innovation of supervision patterns and offering better government services.

Big data brings more convenience

An online administrative approval platform that covers all investment projects nationwide is currently being tested, and will make it possible for applications to be filed anywhere.

Currently, local governments and enterprises have to go to Beijing for project applications, and it is usual that it takes one or two years for a project to be approved.

Under the new platform, every project will be granted a code with which enterprises can easily track the whole approval process.

“The establishment of this online platform, supported by Internet and big data technology, is aimed to set up a transparent, standard and efficient mechanism that coordinates investment projects,” said Luo Guosan, deputy director of the Department of Fixed Asset Investment under the National Development and Reform Commission.

By the end of June, information was being shared among central departments; and coordination will be possible at all levels by the end of the year.

According to Ma Jiantang, vice-director of the Chinese Academy of Governance, authorities should make extensive use of modern technologies such as big data and cloud computing when exploring new ways of government supervision.

Power should be exercised in a transparent way

“Prove your mother is your mother” is an example of onerous requirements under the country’s excessive regulation.

Fairness and transparency are important in order to exercise power in a regulated way. Internet Plus administrative streamlining requires the rights and responsibilities of government departments be listed and made known to the public.

In Zhejiang province, an effective method has been adopted to regulate government power. Three lists have been formulated to clarify government powers, areas that enterprises are not allowed to invest, and the management of fiscal revenue. A government service website that connects departments across the province is also being established.

According to statements on the website, a list of the government’s powers has cut the number of provincial administrative items from 12,300 to 4,236; the negative list of investment clearly lists areas that enterprises are forbidden, or limited, to invest in, and administrative approval is no longer required for investment outside the negative list; special transfer payment from provincial departments to lower levels has been cut from more than 200 items to 40, and there will be no more direct “economic communication” between provincial departments and enterprises.

Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the list is the basis for the government to exercise power according to law. This brings transparency to the “gray area” of the government exercising its power, and also leaves little room for departments and officials to seek profit.

Get closer to the people through Internet

In Foshan’s Nanhai district, a WeChat service tells those who need government services how to go about it.

An account that offers information about administrative affairs in Nanhai district was launched this year. Subscribers can make inquiries, make appointments for government services and check the progress of applications through the account. It also enables users to answer questions or make complaints.

Making government services more accessible to the people is also a part of administrative streamlining.

Zhou Hanhua, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the government should make use of Internet Plus to better know the needs of enterprises and people.

Improving the quality and efficiency of government services is key to administrative streamlining, said Zhang Zhanbin, researcher with the Chinese Academy of Governance.

The government should take advantage of various Internet platforms to communicate with the people and make such a platform a bridge between the government and the people, Zhang said.