Agenda: increasing support for vegetable producers, developing road infrastructure, implementing the 50 percent cashback programme for children’s summer holiday vouchers.
Excerpts from the transcript:
A recent Government meeting focused on agricultural development. One more resolution has been signed to stimulate the increased production of potatoes and other vegetables.
During a recent meeting on developing agriculture and fisheries, the President noted that food self-sufficiency is Russia’s competitive advantage, and our citizens should feel its benefits.
Our agricultural industry is indeed increasing production. Based on last year’s harvest, we are over 90 percent self-sufficient in potatoes, which is close to the target of the Food Security Doctrine.
As much as 87 percent of the vegetables we need are grown in Russia, and there is potential for growth, including by increasing the output of our greenhouse farms. At the same time, the profitability of vegetable production is lower than that of other farm produce.
To help our agricultural industry, the Government has adjusted the rules of allocating regional subsidies. This will be done within the framework of the state agriculture programme.
State support will not only be provided to small and medium-sized enterprises, but also to the owners of household plots. Part of the spending will be compensated for those who are implementing novel farming technologies for outdoor and greenhouse growing. The adjusted rules will become effective next year, so that famers have enough time to prepare.
New opportunities will also be offered to the farms that are building or modernising vegetable storehouses. The prices of construction materials and equipment have grown, which is hindering the scheduled completion of such projects. This is why we will increase the cashback for such expenditures to 25 percent of the actual cost.
We hope that the Government’s decisions will not only help our agricultural producers increase production but will also give the Russian customers access to a broad range of high-quality products at affordable prices, including everything necessary for the so-called borscht set, which includes the most popular vegetables.
And now let me say a few words about the efforts to modernise the transport network. Last year, we managed to repair more roads in terms of total length than ever before in national history. Today, the important thing is not to get out of gear, to ensure the connectivity of this country, and enhance the quality of domestic transport communications for the convenience of people and businesses. In keeping with the President’s instructions, we have allocated an additional 120 billion roubles for the priority development of the road infrastructure, with 63 regions entitled to 86 billion roubles, or the bulk of this sum. They will use the money to improve the standard of more than 2,500 kilometres of regional roads.
Another 34 billion roubles has been set aside to build, upgrade or overhaul major routes, including the Golden Ring of Russia. Figuring in this category is also the Europe-West China route, which will pass through Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Tyumen, and Novosibirsk, as well as its extension to the border with Mongolia and China.
Funding is also intended for the further construction of facilities affecting the development of entire regions. Primarily I am referring to bypasses round big cities, which make it possible to withdraw freight traffic from populated localities and help prevent road congestion. We will continue to remove bottlenecks that hamper traffic. Where necessary, we are planning to build railway crossings that are needed for greater security when driving across the tracks.
Modern, high-quality and rationally designed roads should be available across the country. One of our most important priorities is to attain this objective.
Now let us discuss children’s rest and recreation.
Pursuant to the President’s instructions, we have resumed the programme to reimburse half the price of children’s vacation vouchers. The programme was launched on 31 March to enable parents to plan the upcoming vacations well in advance.
Mr Chernyshenko (addressing Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko), please tell us how this programme is being implemented. Have many people used it? You have the floor.
Dmitry Chernyshenko: Mr Mishustin, pursuant to the President’s instructions, we have launched a programme to reimburse half of the price of vouchers for children’s rest and recreation. We have allocated 7.5 billion roubles from the reserve fund to finance it.
This year, nearly 450,000 children will be able to go to summer camps to relax and improve their health at a 50 percent discount. The voucher sales started in the early hours of 31 March and they will last until 31 August. A trip can be made between 31 May and 30 September.
As of today, 170,000 vouchers have been bought, with parents receiving over 2.5 billion roubles in cashback payments. Let me note that last year, the programme involved over 1,500 camps, or 70 percent of their total number. This year, we are forecasting that the number of children’s camps participating in the programme will grow to 1,800.
In keeping with requests from parents and public organisations, this year’s programme includes, for the first time ever, children’s campsites. We are urging the organisers of children’s recreation activities to focus on observing all the necessary norms and regulations. The Federal Agency for Tourism and the Education Ministry are closely monitoring its implementation.
I would like to further report on the tourism cashback programme. You announced the extension of travel discounts for a week, at people’s request, when you spoke at the State Duma. About 2.5 million Russians have taken advantage of the programme this year, including about half a million during this most recent week, which you added.
Nearly 8.5 billion roubles have been refunded. Total sales of tourism services amounted to about 44 billion roubles. Thanks to this programme, the Government ensured the operation of the tourist infrastructure; this also helped create jobs in the regions and satisfy the growing demand for domestic tourism. This year, another sales window is planned for the autumn-winter period, and Rostourism has reserved funds for this purpose. We will inform you about the dates later.
If we compare this year with last year, tourists booked five times as many trips within Russia with cashback.
Mr Mishustin, it can be argued that both the tourism cashback and children's cashback programmes have proved to be very much in demand in the current economic situation.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you, Mr Chernyshenko. Please continue to monitor the progress of the programme and take all feedback into account. Keep this matter under your personal review. The procedures should be organised clearly and conveniently for people, and for children who will enjoy vacations with cashback.