28 january 2013

Meeting with deputy prime ministers

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Dmitry Medvedev: Let's discuss current affairs. I have signed a Government resolution on adjusting pensions for inflation. We do this every year to make up for growing prices on goods and services. Starting February 1, we will adjust the insurance portion of pensions for old age, disability and loss of breadwinner. More than 37 million pensioners will have their pensions adjusted. Naturally, the state will continue fulfilling all commitments it has assumed.

I'd like to say a few words about one more social issue – the federal standard of pre-school education. Experts, specialists on education, doctors and parents took part in the elaboration of this standard, but nonetheless it will be subjected to broad public discussion in March. Pre-school education is the foundation for a child's school years. Obviously, we must do everything in our power to develop the abilities of our children and support their creative attitude to the world. Ms Golodets, you have dealt with this standard. What can you say about it?

Olga Golodets: Indeed, we have involved the best specialists for elaborating the standard for pre-school education. Now special hopes are pinned on pre-school education, because it is acknowledged everywhere in the world that this is the golden age for the development of a personality, and that the skills that children acquire at this age stay with them for the rest of their lives. It is interesting that the work on developing this standard involved both school and pre-school education specialists and teachers, as well as many members of the general public.

The results were vastly different, and there were serious discussions, as the expectations of parents and teachers largely contradicted those of experts. Substantial efforts were made to draw together the opinions of teachers and the general public regarding the standard. The standard is being developed, and it relates to top standards of the global community and approaches largely recognised by European countries for child development. In March, we will be ready to introduce the completed standard for discussion by the general public. We are developing professional standards simultaneously, so that the introduction of pre-school education will go hand-in-hand with training a new array of pre-school teachers. I believe that this, along with the programme on eliminating kindergarten enrollment queues, will have a very substantial effect for the country. We have to resolve the issue of pre-school education. Thank you.    

Dmitry Medvedev: Okay, thank you.

Another issue we are paying close attention to is road traffic safety. We are approving various documents in this area. However, the statistics remain highly disturbing with regard to human deaths and injuries, as well as drunk driving. Unfortunately, toughening penalties is a necessity – but accurate and proper evaluation requires recording what occurs. Many motorists have expressed their indignation over the fact that video recording of traffic violations is made without notifying them, and about some road traffic officers purposely “hunting” violators instead of ensuring traffic safety. The signed governmental resolution introduces amendments to the road traffic regulations, with a special road sign, “Video Recording,” to be installed in accordance with road markings, starting from mid 2013, at the sites where collection of evidence takes place. I think this is right, as road traffic regulations must be followed both by drivers and traffic officers. 

Now, a few words on natural resources. At a recent meeting in Siberia, we spoke about offshore exploration in the seas of the Arctic and the Far East, as well as on some other opportunities. Today, we will hear specific information on bids for the right to use subsoil areas in our northern territories. Such procedures have been held in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area. Mr Dvorkovich [addressing Arkady Dvorkovich], what are the results of the bid and what are the plans for 2013? 

Arkady Dvorkovich: Mr Medvedev, in late 2012, auctions were held for three of the largest undistributed deposits: the Lodochnoye oil field, the block including the Imilorskoye and Zapadno-Imilorskoye fields, and the Istochnoye and Severo-Istochnoye fields (the latter two are known as the Shpilman field).  The auctions involved a large number of participants, and the final amount paid was substantially higher than the initial offerings. The federal budget received over 100 billion roubles in total, 17 billion last year and 84 billion this year. This is a good result. The rivalry among companies shows that the conditions of field development are acceptable, and our plans to improve the tax legislation are also perceived as positive. Companies are counting on getting revenues from the development of the fields.

The federal budget is already enjoying significant benefits from this process, and we will be able to maintain a reasonable level of oil and gas extraction. In this case, we will not lower the expected extraction levels. In 2013, a large number of shelf plots will be provided to companies. They include 12 plots requested by Rosneft (the deal has been agreed and the documents are due to be signed by you). We hope that the company will obtain all the necessary licenses over the next few days. The initial payments for those plots, and for the plots requested by Gazprom (the deal with them is also almost complete), will amount to 54 billion roubles. This is more than we expect to get in 2013 for providing mineral resource plots for use.

There are also plans to hold auctions for some plots where oil and gas are to be extracted, and for solid mineral deposits as well. I think federal budget revenues will be at least 100 billion roubles this year. As a result, we will acquire additional revenues of up to 150 billion roubles (between 100 to 150 billion roubles), which can be used to finance priority budget programmes.

As for the use of mineral resources, we will be able to meet the growing demand for them both in Russia - this primarily concerns rare metals and some other mineral resources - and abroad, in the growing region of Asia, the Asia-Pacific region.

Dmitry Medvedev: Okay, good. Thank you.