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    RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT PROPOSES CANCELING LICENSES FOR CERTAIN BUSINESSES

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    MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government is expected to amend a bill canceling licenses for certain kinds of activities in one month's time. The government adopted this decision at a meeting on Thursday.

    The government is expected to make a more thorough analysis of the issue within a month, according to Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

    "The Economic Development and Trade Ministry alone will not cope with the task," the premier said, asking Viktor Khristenko, the Industry and Energy Minister, to join in.

    "We need a comprehensive approach, which will combine all kinds of tools of monitoring technologies and their safety," said Mr Fradkov.

    Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Sharonov, who delivered a report on the matter, proposed canceling licenses for 53 kinds of activities. One hundred and twenty kinds of activities require relevant licenses in Russia today. The economic development ministry also deems it necessary that the timeframe for issuing licenses should be reduced from 60 to 45 days. The ministry also advocates simpler licensing procedures and compulsory insurance.

    The recommended list of license-free activities includes valuation, audit, tour operation, film renting, as well as pharmacology, medical equipment and tobacco production, automobile passenger carriages, oil processing, storage and transportation, aircraft maintenance, the use of hazardous explosives and chemical industries.

    Some of the cabinet members said it was premature to cancel licenses for some of these activities, which pose danger to people's lives and health. They suggested that licenses should be replaced by other tools of regulation and control, the process that must comply and be implemented simultaneously with the technological regulation law.

    Economic Development Minister German Gref said at the meeting that licenses were not efficient regulation tools. The minister also suggested toughening responsibility for the failure to observe technological standards and relevant laws.

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