Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues!
Respected colleagues, I would like for us to talk today about several issues. It has been a long time since this particular group of us has gathered – that is to say, with the participation of all Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoys to the Federal Districts and senior officers of ministries and departments. Let us talk today about a subject that I consider to be particularly important: the current situation on the job market.
Job market monitoring has been included in the list of urgent anti-crisis measures for quite some time; it is conducted regularly – nearly every week – by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development. In comparison to the data from October 1, 2008, the number of jobless people who have registered with the unemployment office by mid-January has grown by slightly over 20 percent, and amounts to 1.5 million people. Naturally, this figure is far from being representative of all the people who have lost their jobs, since not everyone goes to the unemployment office. According to the data, there is also an increase in so-called hidden unemployment, that is, the number of people who do not work full-time or are forced to take unpaid leave. There are also other disquieting trends, in particular, an increase in salary payment delays in the regions. Perhaps for now, this increase is not as significant as it used to be in previous years, but it is still something to be wary of.
What is being done today in order to counter these negative trends? First of all, even before the New Year, changes were made to the Federal Law “On Employment.”
Second, the Government has been given special rights to develop and implement measures to alleviate the situation on the job market in our country.
And third, corresponding regional programs are already being prepared. This year, more than 43 million roubles in the form of subsidies will be appropriated from the federal budget in order to co-finance those programs. This is certainly an important source which should be used rationally, first and foremost, in order to organize public works, temporary employment and targeted support of our people, including their relocation to other cities or towns. Naturally, this money should also be spent on generating additional jobs, which should be created through capital spending projects, using resources from the Russian Investment Fund. These resources should also be spent on developing small businesses and providing advance professional and technical education when the threat of layoffs arises. Criteria for preparing corresponding regional programs have already been developed. As far as I understand, there are over 50 such programs…
Tatiana Golikova: 65.
Dmitry Medvedev: 65 have already been submitted to the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development; Tatiana Alekseyevna will tell us about it in a minute.
Now, we must accelerate the development of educational programs and selection of educational institutions, paying particular attention to informational and methodological support of this work.
I would also like to say that the issue of providing employment is one of our greatest priorities, one of the government’s most important social responsibilities. Based on the principles of how these sorts of crises usually develop, the number of people who are left without jobs does not diminish, it increases. And the measures that we take at the government level and the constituent territory level, as well as the measures that will be coordinated by the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoys present here today, must also be pre-emptive in nature. Therefore, regional authorities must cooperate with employers and trade unions in the most active ways possible, using, among other things, the well-known mechanism of so-called trilateral commissions. I would like for our Plenipotentiary Envoys to also pay attention to this.
Particular attention must also be given to measures relating to the most economically active parts of the population. In addition to the financial support that is planned, it is necessary to organize a system of educating entrepreneurs who are just starting out – naturally, this will also involve simplifying the process of obtaining legal permissions.
A large amount of the work today should be done by local government bodies. They are closest to the people, and are most aware of the current situation. In fact, they also have the potential to be quite influential in creating new jobs in all different areas: ranging from construction, maintenance, infrastructure, and issues related to housing and public utilities, to looking after the elderly. Our local government bodies have full authority in these spheres.
Something else I consider to be quite important is that we now have a special web portal of the Federal Labour and Employment Service, called “Work in Russia.” In essence, this is a public job bank of unemployment offices. Because it is online, it obviously can be accessed and utilized in any part of the country; it is also open to partnerships: for example, with private employment agencies. This is a fairly modern project, and it is clear that we must work on all of this together, because overcoming the effects of this crisis is a major undertaking.
Maintaining good employment rate is one of the keys to coming out of the crisis, and at the moment, this issue is becoming extremely important, even decisive. I am certain that if we work together, if we make all the necessary efforts, then we will resolve this problem.
There is one other issue that we (the Presidential Executive Office and the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoys) have worked on: developing a program for selecting high-potential administrators. As you recall, I put forward the instructions to carry this out. By the end of last year, the first phase of this work was completed as we had agreed, and a list was compiled of Russia’s 1000 best managers, including a section highlighting the best hundred. Not so long ago, we met with our colleagues – I looked to see who was included in the top hundred. These were representatives from the field of science, non-government organizations, federal and regional authorities, and business. It is important that in compiling the ratings for these top 1000, use was made of the well-known, generally-supported principle that those at the top will select others at the top, although this is always a very delicate issue. In any case, today we can and should use these high-potential people for filling positions in the field of public administration and key positions in business. In the near future, we will publish this list; this information cannot be kept secret, everyone should be able to work with it. And I would like for the Plenipotentiary Envoys and the federal authorities present here to keep in mind the possibility of its use.