Reforms will streamline county and township governments The central province of Hubei will abolish all Chinese People's Political Consultative Conferences at county and township level in a major move aimed at reducing grass-roots government and saving money. According to this year's provincial reform bill, the county- and township-level governments in the province will be streamlined after being stripped of the CPPCCs, which play a largely advisory and symbolic role in mainland politics. The township governments will comprise the local Communist Party committee, the people's congress and the local administration after the reform, the China Youth Daily reported. The administrative branch of the county and township governments will consist of only three offices in charge of political, economic and social affairs. In line with the organisational streamlining, there will be staff cuts and the merging of multiple administrative roles. The roles of party chief and administrative chief at county and township level will be merged, while the three deputy party chiefs will double as chairman of the local people's congress, disciplinary committee chief and deputy administrative chief. The roles of military chief and propaganda chief at county and township levels will have to be carried out by members of the local party standing committee. To save more money, there will no longer be separate judicial agencies at county and township levels. Municipal governments will be responsible for looking after judicial affairs, state asset management and transport in townships. A pilot programme in seven counties and townships around the province last year proved to be a success, China Youth Daily said. Hubei's bloated bureaucracy has been a serious burden for the province, with five in every 200 people believed to be on the government payrolls. The reform in Hubei is part of a central-government-backed campaign to downsize governments at all levels in an effort to enhance the Communist Party's capacity to govern. Calls from mainland opinion leaders have been growing for the central leadership to reform the five-tier political administrative system, which comprises central, provincial, municipal, county/township and village governments. They have urged the abandoning of people's congresses and consultative conferences at the county and township level. Some political analysts have even suggested that the number of National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegates be halved to save money and enhance their law-making and monitoring functions. They argue that it costs at least 12 million yuan to finance the annual 10-day plenum of the 3,000-strong NPC, taking into account transport, meals and accommodation.