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Central Government Departments Reveal Budgets for 2013
Summary:More than 80 offices, ministries, departments, organizations and institutions that operate under the authority of China’s State Council have released details of how much they plan to spend over the coming year, including details of how much will be spent on cars, travel and receptions.

April 19, 2013
Translated by Zhu Na

Government bodies operating under the authority of the State Council announced details of their spending plans for 2013 on Apr 18, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency.

As of 10pm last night, more than 80 offices, ministries, departments, organizations and institutions that operate under the authority of China’s State Council had announced combined spending plans of close to 700 billion yuan for the coming year on Thursday, including figures for how much they plan to spend on cars, official travel and receptions - which are often referred to as the "three publics” (三公) in Chinese media reports.

This marks the fourth year that central government departments have released details of their budget to the public after new regulations introduced to encourage budget transparency came into effect in 2010.

The push to have the spending figures made public is part of broader effort to counter corruption by slowly increasing oversight and supervision of powerful government departments and gradually opening up the opaque workings of party organs and government ministries.

The Education Department has the largest budgeted outlays of any central government department that has released their budget, with plans to spend 211 billion yuan in 2013. This marks a more than 25 billion yuan increase on the almost 190 billion yuan that the department earmarked to spend in 2012.

Other central government departments with plans to spend over 30 billion yuan this year included the General Administration of Tax (96 billion), the Ministry of Agriculture (37 billion), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (32 billion) and the Ministry of Transport (31 billion).

This year, the Ministry of Finance brought forward the deadline for releasing details of the departmental budgets, according to Xinhua News Agency. In 2012, most central government departments revealed their budgets to the public over the three days from Apr 23 to 25. This year they all announced the details via their departmental websites on Apr 18.

"There have been many changes to how the departmental budgets were announced this year," an official in charge of the budget division at China's Ministry of Finance told Xinhua. 

One of the new features is that all central departments will release details of their "three publics" at the same time as their general budget figures.

Last year departments only released details of their spending on cars, receptions and international travel in July when the finalized budget report was released. 

The Ministry of Finance said that by releasing the "three publics" budget earlier, it makes it easier for society at large to monitor government spending.

Central government departments plan to spend close to 8 billion yuan on the "three publics" in 2013. They plan to spend 2.14 billion on overseas travel, 4.4 billion on cars and 1.4 billion on official receptions.

This marks a reduction of 126 million yuan on the almost 8.1 billion yuan budgeted for 2012. Though central government departments actually spent closer to 8.2 billion yuan on the "three publics” in 2012, according to an announcement posted on the Ministry of Finance's official website.

Another new feature of this year's release is that more details were revealed in relation to the amount of money used to support public servant's housing funds.

According to a report in today's Beijing News, of the 700 billion in spending outlined in the budgets of the 80 departments that have released their budgets so far, over 20 billion yuan of spending is devoted to supporting the housing needs of public servants. 

This year's departmental budgets also include details about how much revenue is raised from government funds.

Links & Sources
Ministry of Finance:中央本级2012年“三公经费”预算执行和2013年预算安排情况 
Beijing News: 中央部门首次同步公开预算和三公
Beijing News:9问三公经费
Xinhua News Agency: 中央部门公开2013年预算 “三公经费”预算首次同步亮相
Economic Observer Online:Reluctant Transparency



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