1 February 2013, 17:00

Medvedev signs document on Russian Government’s priorities up to 2018

Medvedev signs document on Russian Government’s priorities up to 2018

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a document that maps out guidelines for the Russian Government for the period up to 2018, the Kremlin reports.

Speaking at the expanded government meeting today, Mr. Medvedev called for “five years of effective management”.

"The first of them concerns the business environment, which Mr Putin just mentioned. The business environment, including legislation, must be competitive and amenable for both Russian and foreign investors. We need large-scale and stable investment that should reach 25% of the GDP by 2015. Its total amount should nearly double by 2018, as compared to 2012, and the number of new jobs should reach 25 million by 2020, as has just been said. It is a difficult but feasible task.

We will improve customs and tax management and simplify the procedures for access to infrastructure, bank loans and government guarantees. These are the most important issues for any investor, and we will deal with them within the framework of the National Entrepreneurial Initiative and relevant roadmaps. Russia must become one of the 20 best countries for doing business by 2018. 

Second, it is often said that there are negative aspects to the Russian economy’s increased transparency following our accession to the WTO and the creation of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. We understand that competition is always an impetus for further development. The economy is like a parachute: it works well only when it is open.

I am confident that international integration can help bolster economic and social modernisation and enhance these sectors’ effectiveness. We should proceed in three areas simultaneously: Eurasian, European and Asian Pacific, but we should do so in a balanced way. By addressing the task of innovation-based development and joining international chains that create added value, we will be able to protect the interests of our exporters and investors abroad and ensure the sustainable development of Siberia and the Russian Far East with due regard for the goal of creating new business activity centres in Asia Pacific.

Third, global technological modernisation, which has been discussed here, is a fact of life. New technologies are being created before our very eyes. And not just that: whole new industries are being created. We must participate in these processes comprehensively, creating conditions for innovative activities in Russia by taking tax and budgetary measures and using customs and antimonopoly regulation. It is only by setting ourselves the goal of introducing cutting-edge technologies, which amounts to a technological breakthrough, that we will be able to secure the necessary economic growth rates.

One of our priorities for the next few years is to create a competitive research and design sector and to ensure stable and solvent demand for its products. We intend to increase the domestic funding of research and development projects to nearly 2% of the GDP by 2016.

We need a detailed system of support for innovative projects at all stages, from conception to commercial result, which is not always possible, and not in all regions. We must not only create conditions for innovative activity, but also ensure an efficient use of this system, expanding the scale of operation of development institutions, as it is successful implementation that turns ideas into innovative products. We must not forget that innovations are impossible without the people who propose them, without their creative energy and will to act. The Government must create an environment for scientists and establish new research schools and areas. Scientists must know that we need them. By 2018, salaries of researchers and the faculty of higher educational institutions will be 200% of the regional average. We will further develop the system of support, bonuses and grants, and cooperation between universities and business. We will invite scientists with global prestige to Russia, including for participation in the projects of such major centres as Skoltech. The total funding of state-run research foundations should reach 25 billion roubles by 2018.

Fourth, to bolster our traditional industries we must ensure the growth of domestic and foreign demand and effective state regulation, and also create technological alliances with global leaders. This concerns transport machine-building, the production of medicines and medical equipment, and several other industries. We must find new opportunities for the national oil and gas sector through the development of offshore deposits and hard-to-access hydrocarbon reserves, and also introduce modern methods to increase oil recovery.

The defence industry will be given a powerful boost and must become a source of technological innovation for the defence and civilian industries. We need to develop a research and technological foundation for creating new weapons and military equipment, and our enterprises must be upgraded to produce competitive mass produced goods.

We will pay special attention to the aircraft- and ship- building, radio electronics, aerospace and nuclear power industries under the relevant programmes. We will also continue working on a modern system of technical regulation and standardisation. We must support the export of high-tech products and services. By 2018 we must increase our non-energy exports by more than 50% as compared to 2012.

Fifth, we must make our agriculture competitive, and we can achieve this. We have done much to make this possible in the last few years, and we must do everything we can to retain our achievements even despite poor harvests and other seasonal problems. This year we have launched a new government programme for the development of the agro-industrial complex. By 2018 we must bring the average annual growth rates of agricultural products to no less than 2.5% and of food production to 3.5%-5%. We must also reach all major targets of the Food Security Doctrine. Now that we have joined the WTO, it is important to help our companies become more competitive with a view to entering new markets. With regard to food, these markets and truly enormous. We have ambitious plans – to become one of the world’s leading agricultural powers, or rather, to recover this status of our economy.

And one more point. The rural community is more than an economic branch. This is a way of life for almost one third of Russian citizens, a major component of our national identity. Therefore, we must enhance the living standards in rural areas. We are planning to build more than four million square metres of housing there, mostly for young specialists and their families.

Sixth is the development of infrastructure. Our inadequate transport performance is not only impeding economic growth rates, but is also reducing social mobility. We must improve the quality and accessibility of transport services. By 2018 we must enhance travel behaviour by 40% and the export of transport services by 80%.

We must develop regional air travel, about which we have been recently talking at length and making decisions. We must build high-speed motorways and upgrade transport hubs across the board. It is also necessary to increase the transshipment capacity of our sea ports. We will continue developing the Northern Sea Route, which is almost twice as short than other sea routes from Europe to the Far East and is therefore of special interest both for Russian and foreign companies.

We must pay special attention to the energy infrastructure. It is necessary to create the conditions for upgrading thermal energy sources and the heating networks. By 2018 we should reduce the access period to power grids to 40 days for consumers with a maximum capacity of 150 kW.

We will build facilities for the introduction of new generating capacities, including those based on renewable energy sources. We will continue increasing energy and ecological efficiency. It is very important that we overcome the so-called digital inequality of our regions. This is not an abstract problem for us. Russia is the world’s biggest country. We should tackle this problem at all levels – government, regional and municipal – and replicate the best regional practices in the entire country, including those that will help us to raise the computer competence of the older generation.

By 2018 the absolute majority of Russian citizens will enjoy the advantages of broadband Internet access. We will upgrade the quality of our postal service and make it more accessible.

Seventh is the housing problem. It remains urgent. According to sociologists, this is a key issue for the absolute majority of our people – practically 60% of them consider it the most important. It is impossible to resolve this issue overnight and we must continue working for its step-by-step resolution. We have adopted a state programme, Affordable and Quality Housing and Utilities. The Government has allocated a very impressive sum for its funding to 2020 – about 2.5 trillion roubles.

To make housing affordable we must build it on a much larger scale than today – about 100 million square metres a year. The cost per square metre must be reduced. We can do this by simplifying administrative procedures that are still excessive, building economy class housing and reducing the cost of land for real estate development. We will develop the utility infrastructure. This is an opportunity to resolve the housing issue, thereby promoting economic growth rates in this country.

Finally, our people must be satisfied both with the scale and the cost of housing and public utility services. The Government must focus on the elaboration of the legal foundation and regulatory mechanisms in this sphere. I believe we must encourage fair competition there, improve the management of residential blocks and enhance public control. Municipal authorities bear special responsibility in this respect.

Now the eighth point. As I’ve already said, our society calls for a completely different level of education, healthcare, culture and social support. We have substantially increased the funding of the social sphere in the last decade, and this is a good thing. But money is not enough. We must carry out structural and technological modernisation and adopt new standards of services that will match individual requirements. This is not easy because everyone has different needs, but this is the essence of effective social reforms.

We have adopted state programmes on education and healthcare and are implementing regional programmes on their upgrading. Naturally, modernisation must affect not only budget-funded institutions but also relations of the state with public agencies. I’m referring to support of voluntary institutions and socially-oriented non-profit organisations.

It is important to consolidate the recent positive demographic trend that makes us all happy. We must achieve a steady growth of the birth rate and a reduction of the mortality rate, and bring the life span to 74 years. In this way we will be able to ensure the growth of our population to 145 million by 2025. This is a very complicated and comprehensive task for the state, society and business. The need to think about one's health should become the norm for each person. The Government is taking tough measures to reduce the death rate from traffic accidents, smoking and drinking, and to create the conditions for mass sports. In the next few years the number of people who regularly play sports will double.

The current Year of Environmental Protection is aimed at reducing harmful emissions. We want our cities – big and small – to be eco-friendly.

A few words about our family policy. We fully realise that the well-being of a modern family, its desire and ability to have children, depends on whether the future parents have jobs and good incomes, on their housing conditions and access to education and healthcare. Maternity capital is an effective measure of family support. This year it was again adjusted for inflation and reached almost 409,000 roubles. In 2013, 50 demographically challenged regions have introduced monthly payments upon the birth of a third child, and every subsequent child. We will continue helping families with many children to improve their housing conditions.

By 2016 all children from three to seven years of age will be able to attend pre-school institutions. To ensure this, the state will support regional programmes for upgrading old private and family kindergartens and building new ones. We must pay more attention to preventing family problems, especially at an early stage when it is still possible to improve things and preserve a family for a child. We will adopt additional measures of state support for foster parents and guardians. The adoption and guardianship procedures will be simplified. By 2018 we plan to reduce the number of children in orphanages by twice.

We have established the Government Commission on Public Health Protection, which concentrates on disease prevention and quality of healthcare. We will continue making high-tech medical aid more accessible and developing it in federal and regional clinics.

Mandatory medical insurance will allow people to choose clinics and doctors, thereby encouraging medical specialists to upgrade their professional skills and toughening competition among them.

The introduction of IT is designed to improve medical services and make them more convenient for patients. Online appointments, electronic clinical records and tele-health are already being used, but we must turn individual examples into routine medical practices, both in cities and remote rural areas.

Pediatric care is yet another priority. The Government has decided to channel the funds allocated for regional healthcare modernisation programmes primarily to healthcare for children and obstetrics. In 2013 it will transfer 50 billion roubles for this purpose from the Mandatory Medical Insurance Fund alone.

We must guarantee standard medical examination of all children and adolescents."

Dmitry Medvedev urged the government to rely in their work on the so-called “target program management." "Long-term state programs outline benchmarks, create a system of indicators by which to assess the cost-effectiveness. State programs will be the primary mechanism for achieving the goals of socio-economic development. A new fiscal rule will insure the fulfillment of social obligations despite fluctuations in oil markets,” he said.

Voice of Russia, Government.ru

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