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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Khloponin, you and your colleagues have been drafting the North Caucasus development programme. This work has reached the final stage. Let’s start our discussion with this.
Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy To the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin: Mr President, in accordance with your instructions, we must submit to the Government a draft state programme for the development of the North Caucasus by December 1. The programme has two main priorities.
First, it focuses on the development of social infrastructure, whose importance you have emphasised. Indeed, the situation in this area is difficult. The birth rate is high: only in 2011 we had population growth of 90,000. The forecast is that population in the federal district will reach 10 million people in the near future.
At the same time, the number of children attending preschools is only 58% of the national average, which is a very low figure. Almost 51% of educational institutions are working in three shifts; at present 600,000 children attend school in shifts.
Infant mortality is very high: around 164% of the national average. Therefore, one of the objectives that we have set for ourselves under the state programme is the development of social infrastructure. We have agreed the indicators with the Finance Ministry and major investment will begin in 2016.
The second priority is economic development. This part of the programme is broken up into large anchor projects that are currently underway and are planned for implementation without government support, and a number of investment projects that are state-supported by the state guarantee scheme and in other ways, including the tourism cluster, which we have discussed and which is advancing, and the development of medium-sized businesses, which is also a key initiative for the North Caucasus and is being implemented through the Northern Caucasus Development Corporation.
Once again, the programme will be introduced by December 1, and we are planning to discuss it at a Government meeting on December 13. Everything is going according to schedule.
Vladimir Putin: Good.