"We are not satisfied with the situation in the social sphere on the whole despite the fact that it is being improved," the prime minister said.
He pointed out that as of the end of 2003, the number of Russians with incomes lower than the subsistence level was reduced over four years by approximately three million people. But this number is still great - 27,800,000 people. "This problem is the main one, and all the objectives of the economic policy are subordinated to the solution of this problem." Kasyanov said.
The prime minister pointed to the greater differentiation of the incomes of the population due to the faster growth of incomes of well to do citizens, while the generally accessible social infrastructure is rapidly degrading.
Kasyanov reported that over the four years of the third State Duma's work the real incomes of the population increased by more than 50 percent, while the share of the final households' consumption - from 45 percent to 50 percent of the GDP. The volume of funds spent by the households in 2003 was 2 trillion rubles (one US dollar equals a little less than 29 rubles) more than in 2000. In this respect, the prime minister believes, the gap between the industrialized countries and Russia sharply reduced.