Agenda: Changes to the rules on granting subsidies for the purchase of agricultural machinery, the road map for LNG supplies to Kamchatka, and the progress of the programme to provide primary school children with free hot meals.
Excerpts from the transcript:
The Government continues to support the agro-industrial complex.
With a view to simplifying the purchase of necessary agricultural machinery and equipment, we are adjusting the rules on granting subsidies from the federal budget for these purposes. We have signed a resolution that gives agrarians the opportunity to participate more actively in Rosagroleasing programmes. This is primarily for the benefit of processing enterprises that had no such advantages before.
We are also expanding the range of equipment that can now be purchased on favourable terms, and this includes not only tractors or combine harvesters, but also other vehicles, such as trailers and railway carriages, which will reduce losses in the delivery of raw materials and food, as well as increase the volume of freight traffic.
And one more decision concerns those agricultural producers who have already concluded a preferential leasing agreement. They will be able to restructure their payments. This approach will help to reduce the financial burden on farms.
We believe that there will be demand for these measures not only from the agro-industrial complex, but also from manufacturers of agricultural machinery, vehicles and equipment. The President has recently spoken about the importance of expanding leasing programmes.
The Government will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the successful development of industries and food security in the country so that our citizens have a wide choice of high quality food.
The next item on the agenda deals with gas supplies to the Kamchatka Territory.
The President has tasked us with arranging LNG deliveries to the peninsula, including as part of the Sakhalin 2 project. This is essential for the region’s steady development, improving people’s lives and the business environment.
The Government has approved a three-year roadmap to this effect and defined the stages and deadlines, as well as funding sources.
We expect to launch docks and all the other coastal infrastructure facilities we need in Avacha Bay’s Rakovaya Cove before the end of 2025. The federal centre will allocate 12 billion roubles to this effect. A floating LNG terminal will be built using extra-budgetary funding and the same applies to ocean-going LNG carriers.
Delivering on these plans will help to fulfil the programme to connect households to the gas distribution network. This will ensure that housing in the region gets uninterrupted heating and hot water at affordable prices. This is critical considering Kamchatka’s harsh northern climate.
We have another topic on the agenda dealing with the academic year which begins next week. Children will return to their schools, and we need to do whatever is necessary to offer them an environment suitable for their studies.
The President tasked the Government with ensuring that primary school students get free hot meals. We carried out this initiative in stages by offering first to fourth grade children hot meals at school, either lunch or breakfast. Moreover, we must provide healthy, quality and tasty food.
From 1 September, Russian schools in all regions must receive federal funding for this purpose.
Ms Golikova, please report on the corresponding arrangements.
Tatyana Golikova: Mr Mishustin, colleagues, good afternoon.
When we embarked on the effort to carry out the President’s instructions in August 2020, the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare designated 2,261 schools in 27 regions across the country as unprepared to offer hot meals.
We drafted roadmaps in all these regions to resolve this issue and ensure that the school catering facilities meet the sanitary norms. As of today, ahead of the new academic year, which starts on 1 September, all these roadmaps have been carried out in full. State support from the federal budget was one of the factors that made this possible: schools carried out major renovation projects, including in their cafeteria kitchens, as part of a larger effort to upgrade the education infrastructure. In 2022 and 2023 alone, 1,622 school catering facilities across 68 regions benefited from repairs financed from the federal budget.
In keeping with your instructions, we set up a response centre within the Government on free hot meals for schools, enabling us to coordinate all the stakeholders involved, including the federal agencies, the regions, experts, and parents. This way, we could promptly respond to the challenges arising along the way.
Parents can use a dedicated feedback option on the government and municipal services websites for school nutrition. In 2020-2022, the Government allocated over 139 billion roubles in co-funding to the regions to enable them to offer hot meals to primary school students. This year, we earmarked another 67 billion roubles for this purpose.
Starting this year, 88 regions, including the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, and Baikonur will receive subsidies. Moscow will provide hot meals on its own by relying on its municipal budget.
On top of this, we will allocate another 1.4 billion roubles in additional funding this year to offer free hot meals for primary school students in the four new constituent entities of Russia: the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
In all, 100 percent of elementary school children in state and municipal schools will be getting meals from 1 September 2023, which covers about 7.7 million youngsters.
I would like to note that over the past three years the number of schools in violation of food quality and safety requirements dropped seven times thanks to the measures we have taken, while the number of cases of failure to comply with the requirements to provide balanced meals and healthy nutrition guidelines fell three-fold. The volume of food waste dropped from 50 percent to 6 percent, which points to the fact that the quality of hot meals the schools offer has improved.
Mr Mishustin, we will continue with our efforts to carry out this programme and deliver on this agenda. For 2024 and 2025, we have earmarked 134 billion roubles to this effect in the budget, that is 67 billion roubles per year.
We will keep you updated on this matter, just like we always do.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you Ms Golikova. On the matter of offering free hot meals to schoolchildren, it is essential of course that we invite parents to contribute to quality control. We must make sure that we take their views into consideration.