A new ministry will be established to manage China's major emergency responses in efforts to guard against major risks and improve the public safety system, said a draft plan submitted on Tuesday to the National People's Congress for deliberation. [Special coverage]
The plan will integrate all resources for emergency management to build a professional and fast-response system, which can ensure the safety of people's lives and their property, the plan said.
The suggested Ministry of Emergency Management will take over the responsibilities of the current State Administration of Work Safety and functions from other ministries, including firefighting from the Ministry of Public Security, disaster relief from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, geological disaster prevention from the current Ministry of Land and Resources, drought and flood control from the Ministry of Water Resources, and prairie fire control from the current Ministry of Agriculture.
The emergency management department of the General Office of the State Council will also be merged into the new ministry. The new ministry will also oversee the China Earthquake Administration and the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, while the State Administration of Work Safety will be dismantled.
In the draft plan, the new ministry will compile and implement the nation's overall emergency management plans, organize rescue and relief for disasters and workplace accidents. It will also focus on supervision of work safety in factories, mines and trading centers.
Small-scale disasters should be managed by local governments and the Ministry of Emergency Managements will provide support. When serious disasters occur, the ministry will be the headquarters to coordinate rescue and relief efforts, the plan said.
"In the past, emergency management functions were separated in different ministries. If approved, the new ministry will become a single department responsible for major safety risks with clearly-defined power and responsibilities," said Zhu Lijia, a professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance.
The integration of disaster rescue and relief resources will substantially improve China's speed and efficiency in emergency management, said Li Junpeng, another professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance.