Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – More than half of the total 11,162 communes nationwide (6,191 communes or 55.46 percent) do not meet even 50 percent of the criteria on natural area and population as set by Resolution 1211/2016/UBTVQH13, according to Phan Van Hung, director of the local administration department under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Resolution 1211 specifies that a commune in plain and mid-land regions should have an area of at least 30 square kilometers and a population of at least 8,000, while for those in mountainous and high land areas the criteria are at least 50 sq.km and 5,000.

Also according to Hung, 259 out of the current 713 district-level administrative units nationwide do not meet 50 percent of the criteria on acreage and population set by Resolution 1211, either.

Therefore, it is necessary to rearrange administrative units at communal levels, he said, stressing that the move is to implement the Resolution 18-NQ/TW adopted by the 6th plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee on continuing to reform, rearrange the political system for a streamlined and effective apparatus.

The rearrangement and merger of administrative units that do not meet 50 percent of acreage and population criteria from now to 2021 will be guided by the principles of transparency and democracy with the involvement of local voters and in accordance with set procedures. Priority will be given to merging a unit that do not meet criteria in its status quo with an adjacent unit of the same level, Hung said. 

The resolution also set the target of completing the rearrangement of administrative units at district and communal levels in accordance with set criteria between 2022 and 2030.

The number of administrative units from provincial to communal levels has changed many times since 1975.

From 1975 to 1986, the number of provincial-level units dropped from 72 to 40, then increased to 64 as of November 2003. In May 2008, the number reduced to 63 with the merging of Hanoi and Ha Tay province and remained the same until present.

Regarding district-level units, the number increased from 431 in 1986 to 713 in 2016.

The number of communal-level units rose to 11,162 in 2016 from 9,657 in 1986.

Hung said with the promulgation of the 2013 Constitution, the 2015 Law on Organisation of Local Administration and the Resolution 1211/2016/UBTVQH13, the number of administrative units at district and communal levels has been kept at 713 and 11,162, respectively, until now.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the division of administrative units in the early years of the economic reform produced some positive effects, stimulating local socio-economic development, investment in local infrastructure and bringing the administrative apparatus close to the people.

However, it also resulted in a cumbersome apparatus with large numbers of State employees along with rising spending on salary payment and operational costs.

The large number of administrative units also caused difficulties in making long-term and macro development plans, and broke up local resources and potential. -VNA