President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Ms Chupsheva. We have not seen each other since autumn, is that right?
General Director of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives Svetlana Chupsheva: Yes, it was back in October.
Mr President, I would like to brief you on what we have been able to achieve since our last meeting.
In November, we launched a platform that enables entrepreneurs to submit requests and claims. Administrative pressure remains a key concern for them, and you have highlighted this issue on multiple occasions.
To date, 1,289 entrepreneurs have registered on the platform, and used it to submit 600 claims and requests to the Interior Ministry, the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Federal Security Service. Of course, most of these filings fall within the Interior Ministry’s purview.
Of these 600 requests, we forwarded 234 to law enforcement agencies, and our colleagues there are already working on them within their central offices. We are already receiving answers.
At this point, it would be premature to talk about results. We are currently fine-tuning mechanisms for working in this format together with senior officials and the central offices of these agencies. I strongly believe that this framework will yield its first results this year, since we already have several cases where the issues raised by entrepreneurs were resolved.
Vladimir Putin: What are the easiest agencies to work with and the hardest ones?
Svetlana Chupsheva: Well, all of them without exception are very constructive. It is just that the Federal Security Service received fewer requests, only five in fact. Overall, our colleagues are very prompt when it comes to responding to these requests, and provide meaningful answers. The Interior Ministry has a bigger workload. Still, we are always in touch with all of them.
Vladimir Putin: Do they ever try to pass the buck to those who get the blame?
Svetlana Chupsheva: It does happen, but this is when the central offices become involved, so that we can get to the bottom of every specific case. I think that it will take us two months to go through all these submissions.
Vladimir Putin: Good.
Svetlana Chupsheva: At the end of the year, we launched an online resource for the exchange of best practices for the regions and municipalities. This was also discussed at the St Petersburg Economic Forum.
We collect practices with proven effectiveness, those that have been implemented and tested, and we focus specifically on the areas and objectives of National Projects.
Today, 87 regional practices have been collected that concern health and lifestyle, the quality of the urban environment, the social sphere, SME support, exports, tourism and agricultural development.
As many as 55 regions have taken some of those ready-made solutions and are already implementing them. It is very important that these solutions are also being supported by so-called mentor teams for the regions.
We are planning to expand this system this year. Along with the best regional practices, we will be adopting the experience of large companies, development institutions, and will invite international partners. This year, the World Bank said it would add five of its practices there.
We certainly would like this to develop into an international platform for the exchange of important, global tasks and sharing effective solutions.
In 2019, we supported 103 projects in urban development technologies, the social and educational spheres. The portfolio today includes about 450 projects supported by the Agency.
Around 1.4 million children and adolescents have been involved in our educational formats over the past year. I am referring to the projects you are aware of – Ticket to the Future, a project that you initiated; as well as career guidance projects Personnel of the Future for the Regions, National Technology Initiative (NTI) Olympiad, and the club movement.
We are very pleased that all the projects are up and running, and that children in any city, in every region have an opportunity to engage in technical creativity, natural sciences, can implement their projects with smart and effective mentors.
As for this year, Mr President, we are launching another national rating of the investment climate in Russia’s regions. In January, we started polling entrepreneurs about the investment climate and the authorities’ efficiency in creating a positive investment climate. We will submit our conclusions at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
We can already see some progress. We recalled the year 2014, when it took as long as 2,000 or even 3,000 days to receive construction permits in the regions that were ranked the lowest.
The worst result today, which is a rather good result, adequate for the country, is 200 days. In other words, we have reduced the divide between the regions tenfold, so that conditions for enterprise are consistent when it comes to the provision of services in this sphere.
This is also true of the energy sector. In the past, it took between 500 to 600 days to receive a permit; the current result is just 150 days at the most and between 35 and 40 days at the soonest across the country. I believe this can be described as best practice. Business people are no longer complaining.
As for support to technology enterprise, you said in your Address to the Federal Assembly that we must support technological development in the country and that technological start-ups should have the right to take a risk.
You have issued instructions to create financial and legal conditions for the growth of such companies, and an ASI working group has already formulated proposals to this effect.
We propose giving such projects the status of “experimental projects” and funding them as a separate budget line, which implies a special selection, support and results assessment procedure, plus the obligatory monitoring of these projects’ financial statements and support provided to them by the Treasury.
The Accounts Chamber conducts end-to-end audits of these projects, using them to judge not the development institutions that finance these projects or the projects themselves, but the portfolio in general.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.