Beijing's sixth cabinet shake-up since 1982 has met with harsh words and a good dose of scepticism about its lasting significance in policy and governance terms. The latest round of restructuring comes at a critical time in the country's overall reform project, when an efficient, accountable government is sorely needed to tackle economic bottlenecks. As state media and officials get terribly excited at the so-called mega-ministry plan, unveiled yesterday at the annual session of the National People's Congress, independent analysts and overseas experts were more cautious or critical. 'Ministries are being abolished, created or merged,' said Joseph Fewsmith, a political scientist from Boston University. 'There is little that speaks so loudly to the political incontinence of the ruling party as the notion that endless administrative restructuring gets to the heart of addressing the real problems.' Xiong Wenzhao , a professor of public administration at the Central University of Nationalities, expressed similar sentiments. 'It's hardly a strategic plan,' he said. 'It's a compromise between various ministries and vested interests. I saw a lot of governmental fiddling around but not enough expert opinion. I'm already expecting cabinet revamping No7.' In a subtle indication that more mega ministries are to emerge down the road, Premier Wen Jiabao used the word 'exploring' to describe the government restructuring process, giving a time frame of another 12 years to establish 'a nearly perfect administrative management system'. By 2020, a mega-cultural ministry and a super-agricultural ministry - a big umbrella body looking after fishing, farming, forestry and water resources - would take shape. A super-financial ministry was also likely, analysts said. Tang Tiehan , vice-president of the National School of Administration, said this round of restructuring targeted 'relatively mature' and 'ready' industries and those that needed sharper policy focus and priority. The new transport ministry, for example, absorbs roads, highways, watercourses and aviation, but conspicuously left out railways. If a genuine mega-ministry happened in this field, it would take place later because the government would have to reform the railway monopoly first, Professor Tang said. The creation of a high-ranking national energy commission and the upgrading of the largely toothless environmental watchdog to full cabinet status signalled Beijing's strategic plan for sustainable growth. The health mega-ministry, which takes over the scandal-plagued food and drug agency, aimed to integrate the fractured food regulatory system to boost its troubled safety record, analysts said. The creation of the new Ministry for Housing and Urban, Rural Construction was obviously an attempt to address public gripes about skyrocketing housing prices. The rationale for the new Ministry of Industry and Information is to consolidate industrial sectors such as steel, metals and information technology to boost their international competitiveness. But at the same time it raised the question of whether it had overlapping functions with the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, Professor Xiong said. Yesterday's biggest casualty was the National Development and Reform Commission - which has been stripped of its project-approval powers and instructed to focus on macro-management. But like its ill-fated predecessors - the once powerful State Planning Commission and the State Development Planning Commission - it remained to be seen how all this would work out in practice, analysts said. Some are sceptical that the stated goal of the reform - the separation of government functions between policymaking, execution and supervision - could ever be successful under existing political arrangements. 'A precondition for effective regulation was the establishment of a regulator with independence from both business and politics,' said Margaret Pearson, a professor in the department of government and politics at the University of Maryland. 'Independence from politics is impossible given China's political system, because the whole mechanism works in the service of the party-state rather than the market.' Finally, the announcement of the plan probably left no-one's adrenaline running as high as Li Keqiang's , the man who is tipped to be named executive premier next week to spearhead the massive restructuring project. 'He has very strong political ambitions,' said Cheng Li, a professor of government at Hamilton College in New York state. 'He would like to oversee the country's economic blueprint in the future.' The party highflier, who became the youngest member in the Politburo Standing Committee in October, has an uphill battle to fight. The reform project is a maelstrom of competing interests. Mr Li will have to fight for bureaucratic supremacy when disputes arise over who is stepping on whose turf. If he can navigate the pitfalls of implementing the plan, the premier's job might not be too much to hope for.