Friday, March 29, 2013

Li praised for his promise to cut bureaucracy; also for off-the-cuff humour

IT’S not the first time that a political leader begins his innings by resorting to bureaucracy bashing. But new Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s comments on tackling bureaucracy were not rhetoric (like minister Jairam Ramesh calling Indian bureaucracy as the world’s most dangerous animal), but were replete with measurable specifics. First…
Li promised to cut the government workforce and halt spending on government offices and hotels. Then he said ‘no’ to many an overseas trip, and rampant use of official vehicles. The number of processes, estimated to be 1,700 in China, for which government approvals are needed, will be cut to a third, according to reports based on his first press conference last week. China’s new president Xi Jinping too vowed to tackle red tape when he recently addressed delegates at the parliamentary session’s closing ceremony.
When David Cameron entered No 10 Downing Street, he too talked about a “post-bureaucratic age” which would not allow “the old top-down, big government solutions”. Analysts will call it a fair statement. But former Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s insult to bureaucracy angered officers across ranks in the island nation. The moment Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took over in August 2009, new leader Kan called bureaucrats “a bunch of idiots who just got good grades in school.”
But Li’s comments on bureaucracy were quite sophisticated. You can’t however expect much in a press conference of the Chinese premier as questions are vetted in advance. But Li was praised by journalists thanks to his “smile that rarely faltered” and “moments of off-the-cuff humour”.

Action and Appointments
a) IRS (Customs & Central Excise) probationers are being deployed in various offices to tackle rush during the last three days of the current financial year. It was also announced that Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) offices will remain open on March 29, 30 and 31, 2013. Also, the proposed nation-wide strike by Associations of Superintendents and Inspectors of Central Excise stands withdrawn.

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