Address by Oksana Kozlovskaya at the 22nd Session of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast (July 25, 2013)
The spring session of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast is under completion. Over this period 558 legislative acts and 139 laws of Tomsk Oblast have been adopted. One in three laws has a social dimension.
Additional budget revenues were mainly spent to provide medical aid to cancer patients, pharmaceutical benefits; ensure education modernization; acquire housing for large families, relocate people from unfit and hazardous housing; improve the wellbeing in rural areas, etc.
The main solutions include a set of laws targeted to increase salaries in education, healthcare, culture, social security, sport.
In September the deputies are going to adopt the Social Strategy of Tomsk Oblast till 2022.
Therefore this subject will be on the top of the agenda today.
Oksana Kozlovskaya: ‘I suggest looking at the social sphere not from the usual angle, i.e. traditional fulfillment of guarantees and support for all benefit holders, but to talk about possibilities to develop the economy areas which provide the citizens with modern and high-quality services, build high-quality human capital assets, and thus increase the competitiveness of the region.’
Social sphere of Tomsk Oblast today is over 8% of GRP (almost 30bn rubles). One in four citizens of the region works. And one in five Tomsk citizens works on budget-funded positions.
The major part of our budget, i.e. 28%, is spent for education. For healthcare and social support measures we spend 15% each. Spending for social sphere in 2013 totals almost 40bn rubles or 63% of the consolidated budget expenditures.
Today we will discuss the Oblast bill “On Education”.
This Law is strategically important for our region. It was developed in elaboration of the federal law which is of direct force. For the first time the law covers an integral education system – it combines all educational levels, from pre-school to its higher level.
When adopted the law sets a number of heavy commitments for the regional authorities. First, it is pre-school education in public and private institutions, extracurricular at schools, social support measures for children with health restraints.
Healthcare is dramatically evolving as well. Since 2014 both management and entire fiscal responsibility in healthcare will fall on the region. This issue is under agenda as well.
Social security for citizens
The State Duma of the Russian Federation will consider amendments to Federal Law No.184 during the fall session. The amendments are aimed to provide regions with a right to establish criteria of need in social security both on regional and federal levels. This means that each region will independently determine benefits for each category of citizens based on their financial possibilities.
The law will give targeted orientation to social support.
It is obvious that economic growth in the country and its regions alone ensures fulfillment of social commitments and programs.
And the growth in its turn depends on population and quality of human resources.
Experts believe that the demographic crisis of 1990s will shortly bring Russia to the group of the oldest countries of the world. One in five Russians are over working age. By 2035 a number of retired will equal a number of people in work.
Although Tomsk Oblast is one of “young” regions of Russia (average age of Tomsk citizens is 37 years vs. 39 in Russia), but one in three Oblast citizens is retired. In such situation we need to encourage people who reached retirement to work on. The new federal pensionary formula includes these mechanisms. Yet on the regional level we can find more incentives for their employment.
It is important to offer alternatives to the customer in the social sphere, as well as to facilitate access to resources and opportunities for people with different income levels. This is a significant economy growth factor via consumption development.
We gained sufficient experience in entrepreneurship in social spheres both on the national and regional levels.
‘I believe we should draw up an inventory of business in social area, to reveal the best practice, study experience of other regions. This will be the basis for a new system of state support for business in this sphere established by means of public and private partnership mechanisms.
I hope that the above proposals will be considered in the Strategy of development in the social sphere in Tomsk Oblast’, said the Speaker.