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Regions with most efficient officials to be encouraged by RF government

August 17, 2012, 13:21 UTC+3

The corresponding bill on the distribution of 1 billion rubles in grants has been prepared by Regional Development Ministry

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MOSCOW, August 17 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s regions with the most efficient administration will get financial incentives from the federal government. The corresponding bill on the distribution of 1 billion rubles in grants has been prepared by Regional Development Ministry.

The Novye Izvestia reports that there are 10 such regions: Tatarstan, St. Petersburg, the Tyumen Region, Chuvash Republic, Perm Territory, Moscow, as well as the Omsk, Tambov, Kostroma and Astrakhan Regions. Their efficiency assessment is based on such data as revenues to the regional budget, the investment volume, the share of employment in small and medium-sized businesses and other criteria – a total of 74. Regional Development Minister Oleg Govorun said at the Cabinet meeting on Thursday that the volume of subsidies varies on the average from 70 million rubles for a subject that gets the tenth place to 160 million rubles for the leader of the list.

The authorities are very happy with the system they have developed. According to the minister, officials in the Astrakhan Region, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area and the Pskov Region have begun to work more efficiently. Other regions have significantly cut inefficient spending: St. Petersburg – by 20 percent, the Omsk Region - by 34 percent, Mari El - by 41 percent, and the Primorsky Territory - by 68 percent.

Associate Professor of the Public Policy Department of the Applied Political Science Faculty of the Higher School of Economics (HSE) Alexei Titkov, quoted by the publication, believes that the current system of assessment of regional officials’ successes can hardly be called effective. “Let’s start with the fact that a sum of 1 billion rubles distributed among several regions can be called rather a symbolic than a real encouragement,” said the expert. “The assessment mechanism itself is also dubious. First, the criteria are not clear, so the result is subjective. Suppose we take the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) data on the population’s income growth. Nobody will be able to determine to what extent it is the achievement of administration, and to what – it’s just good luck. Second, it is unclear how to draw a single integrated indicator from many of the criteria. Which is more important? That is, there is no expert assessment here, but only notional political decisions.”

The Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily quotes Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as saying that “despite the allocation of such significant funds for the conditions that are created for the development of regions, to be honest, there is no radical improvement in a number of territories, and sometimes no significant changes can be noticed. And that is particularly true of the key indicator - improving the citizens’ life quality.”

Public opinion polls have only confirmed the words of the RF government head. Every three years public opinion polls are conducted in all RF subjects to assess the activities of the regional authorities. In 2011, Regional Development Minister Oleg Govorun cited the most recent data - citizens saw a slight growth only in the healthcare sector - from 34 percent in 2010 to 36 percent a year later. In the other spheres people have noticed the worsening of the situation.

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