China wants real-time surveillance on government-funded projects

China wants to track projects that receive funding from the central government in real-time, a move aimed at boosting the effectiveness of state investments as Beijing tries to reinvigorate the economy.

Project developers who receive at least 30 million yuan (R80.69 million) of investment from the central government will have to install remote visual monitoring equipment if conditions allow, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a recent statement.

The rule takes effect from Feb. 1 and will allow authorities to supervise projects on a real-time basis.

The measures are “intended to regulate the implementation of projects and the use of funding, so as to ensure and improve the comprehensive benefits of central budgetary investment,” the top economic planner said in a separate statement.

The Chinese government has been stepping up investment in infrastructure to shore up growth, as dwindling confidence among consumers and businesses has weighed on the economy.

With government revenue squeezed by sluggish economic activity and a property downturn, top leaders have called for the effects and efficiency of fiscal policy to be strengthened.

The NDRC said drones and satellite remote sensing can be used to monitor projects. Relevant departments should utilize big data, cloud-computing and other measures to strengthen data verification and analysis, allowing for any problems to be detected early.

Many Chinese cities including Beijing and Changsha have ordered for cameras to be installed at construction sites in the past to control dust and noise pollution.

The China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank used satellite imagery to track the progress of about 40 projects around the world during the pandemic.

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China wants real-time surveillance on government-funded projects