Listen to your citizens

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Listen to your citizens

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s decision to require a mandatory report to the government of all types of unmanned aerial vehicles after two North Korean drones crashed in Paju, Gyeonggi, and Baengnyeong Island is producing lots of complaints from people who enjoy flying remote-controlled aircraft. They have had to register drones weighing more than 12 kilograms (26 pounds) to the authorities, but now they must report all types of unmanned airplanes for leisure and hobby activities. The measure produced an avalanche of criticism of over-regulation of people’s leisure activities despite President Park Geun-hye’s strong emphasis on scrapping various types of red tape.

One can easily see how many regulations ordinary citizens or self-employed owners of businesses have to go through in their daily lives - not merely medium- and large-size companies - if you analyze various deregulation ideas posted on a government portal that has been run by the Prime Minister’s Office since the public forum presided over by Park last month. Among the 1,547 proposals for deregulation posted on the site until last Friday, 45 percent were related to regulations on people’s daily lives and 28 percent to excessive restrictions on self-owned businesses with both categories accounting for nearly three-fourths of all the deregulation proposals. Barring a few proposals that may have been aimed at seeking personal gains, most were related to the unnecessary red tape that is incompatible with a modern, fast-changing society.

No one even raises complaints against a certain type of regulation. For instance, the government demands various types of official documents - like a copy of a residential registration issued by district offices - even for filing a civil complaint to a related office. Calling for documents when one can easily get the needed personal information causes a huge waste of resources. Though the government vowed to review all complaints lodged by civil petitioners, it still fell short of presenting solutions for many business-as-usual regulations.

Of course, many regulations play a positive role as they prevent potential risks. But government agencies tend to abuse top-to-bottom and impractical regulations for their own interests, which exacerbate people’s inconveniences. It must understand that any deregulation begins with addressing complaints from ordinary citizens.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 7, Page 30

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