25 september 2008

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with Samara Governor Vladimir Artyakov

Three-year budget, industrial development, agricultural problems and social issues of the region were discussed at the meeting.

Vladimir Artyakov: Mr Putin, it's been some time since we last met, and I can tell you now with certainty that the Samara Region has closed the year 2008. We have already adopted our three-year budget, which is very socially oriented. We plan to spend 61% of the total regional budget on social programmes, including 23 billion roubles (a quarter of the whole) on education. The rest will go into social needs and healthcare.

Speaking of the region's industrial development, let me cite the 7.7% growth of the gross regional product (GRP), much higher than during the same period last year. If we look at the dependence of the GRP trend on innovation technologies, we'll see that their 20% growth spurs industrial development through innovative projects.

Also, our innovation products account for 5-7% of the national industrial development.

When we met last time, we discussed agricultural problems. I can tell you with certainty now that we have crossed the 2-million-tonne mark in grain harvesting. It is an unbelievable harvest for the region, we have not produced so much grain in the past six years. We have congratulated the agricultural workers on their success. They are happy. The Government has also contributed to the achievement.

This year alone, we cultivated over 250,000 hectares of abandoned land. It was a tangible addition to our crop lands, and we'll be able to fully meet the region's food needs three or four years from now. That means we are closer than ever to ensuring the region's food security.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Congratulations.

Vladimir Artyakov: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: What about social issues?

Vladimir Artyakov: We have made good progress. As I have already mentioned, we have earmarked 61% of the budget for social needs. Our healthcare system is on the rise, thanks to the federal government. The ministry has provided 800 million roubles to complete the federal cancer centre in the region. Construction will be finished this year, and the centre will be commissioned in 2009.

Vladimir Putin: Will you keep to the deadlines?

Vladimir Artyakov: Certainly. I am monitoring the progress personally, the builders are constantly supervised. We are also preparing to break ground for a cardiology centre we've discussed. We are currently working on the project estimates, which we will present to the federal government next year to ask for co-financing.

As you said, the centre will be based in Samara with six affiliates across the region to make services available to the patients. Every patient should be able to reach the nearest location quickly.

Vladimir Putin: You should also develop transport.

Vladimir Artyakov: Yes, I meant to mention it, too. We have earmarked 10% of the regional budget for road construction, and Transport Minister Igor Levitin appreciated the effort. It was an unprecedented effort: we have already spent part of the amount planned. Rural roads are being developed very intensively.