MOSCOW, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin Monday announced support for plans to develop nanotechnology and said the government would choose a body to oversee a federal program.
"A federal target program means additional funding, and the prime minister should decide who is to exercise oversight," Putin told a government session.
Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko said his ministry was drafting a medium-term program until 2015 in a bid to step up efforts in development of nanotechnology, a branch of science and engineering devoted to the design and production of extremely small electronic devices and circuits built from individual atoms and molecules.
Fursenko said a federal state program was premature, as the ministries involved should initially coordinate the issue, but Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov insisted that it should be drafted.
"Nanotechnology is the technology of the 21st century. A country successful in its implementation will be a 21st-century leader," Zhukov said. "As of now this is Japan. The EU countries are outlining special national programs. I would not agree that we do not need a federal state program."
He added that valid benchmark figures were also needed.
"Coordination is necessary, but we can't do without a federal state program."
Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref supported the creation of a program, saying a total of 12 billion rubles ($432 million) had been already allocated in the 2007 budget for the development of nanotechnology.
"I can not imagine how to spend money without a federal state program," he said.