''If Tatarstan economy grows at current rate, it will fail to reach a 5 trillion GRP volume''

The Strategy 2030 will be redrawn taking into account sanctions and Putin's decree

''If Tatarstan economy grows at current rate, it will fail to reach a 5 trillion GRP volume'' Photo: kgeu.ru

The changes to the Strategy 2030 were discussed in the Kazan Power Engineering University on 7 November. Three years after adoption, the document has to be adjusted to take into account the ''significant long-term'' sanctions and the requirements of the May Decree. During the discussion, representatives of the scientific community doubted the plans to double the regional economy and told what makes young people leave Tatarstan. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya followed the discussion.

''No one expected three years ago that such significant sanctions would be imposed''

The strategy of socio-economic development of Tatarstan until 2030 was officially approved in June 2015, but three years later it requires amendments. The reason was explained by Deputy Minister of Economy of Tatarstan Oleg Pelevin.

First, the global situation has changed: ''the containment of globalization processes'' is taking place, protectionism is growing everywhere. ''Of course, when we were adopting the strategy three years ago, none of us, the economists, did not expect that such significant economic sanctions would be imposed and that they would be so long-term,'' Pelevin admitted. The second reason is the May Decree, the strategic goals of which Tatarstan has to take into account.

The parameters of the strategy are changed in the part of economic indicators, demography, living standard and territorial development. The new edition suggests doubling the volume of the regional economy: the GRP is to grow from 2,1 trillion rubles in 2017 to 5 trillion in 2030. Apparently, this correlates with the new national task — to enter the five largest economies in the world.

''Of course, when we were adopting the strategy three years ago, none of us, the economists, did not expect that such significant economic sanctions would be imposed and that they would be so long-term,'' Pelevin admitted

Besides, the demographic part of the Strategy 2030 has to be changed because of the May Decree. It will be supplemented by objectives to increase the birth rate, the proportion of citizens regularly engaged in sports (the target — 57%), as well as to increase the healthy life expectancy to 67 years.

The new version provides for the actions that should minimize differences in the quality of life in rural and urban areas. The education part has also been changed. According to Pelevin, it is about the development of not only education but also science, the strategy includes the task to achieve the attractiveness of the Republic of Tatarstan for Russian and foreign scientists.

Also, the strategy has been added with the task to increase labour productivity, which again intersects with the instructions of Vladimir Putin (he ordered to increase labour productivity by 5% annually in the address to the Federal Assembly).

The updated strategy provides for the creation of additional points of growth. Tatarstan is usually divided into three main economic centres — Kazan, Zakamye and Almetyevsk. As practice shows, the level of socio-economic development decreases in proportion to the distance from the centres. Thus, it is necessary to provide a larger number of economic centers, Pelevin explained. ''Our task is to create such growth points throughout the territory of the region.''

Another new direction is the development of ecology. ''There are a lot of complaints from the public, from the population — that the environment theme is given insufficient attention in the strategy,'' said the official.

Yury Smirnov drew attention to the plan for the growth of the GRP — in this part ''a clearly ambitious objective is laid down in the strategy''

''A clearly ambitious objective is laid down in the strategy''

The representatives of universities made their comments on the changes of the strategy. For example, Yury Smirnov, the vice-rector of the Kazan State Power Engineering University for informatization, drew attention to the plan for the growth of the GRP — in this part ''a clearly ambitious objective is laid down in the strategy''. According to him, if the economy of the republic grows at the current rate, it will not be possible to reach the volume of 5 trillion rubles in the remaining time.

Meanwhile, structural constraints prevent higher growth rates from being achieved. Some studies show that in Russia there should live about 300 million people — the population ''is clearly not enough'', said Smirnov.

The pension reform, he said, can also be called two-edged sword. On the one hand, it will give additional manpower. On the other hand, the older generation is less receptive to new technologies, respectively, their productive capacity is lower. The vector for improving the health care system and improving the quality of life is correct, but it will require additional resources from the republic, Smirnov added.

Anna Svirina, the director of the Chistopol branch Vostok of the Kazan National Research Technical University named after A.N.Tupolev (KNRTU-KAI), spoke about the drivers of growth. The studies have revealed several main incentives for economic development: logistics, export orientation of small businesses, as well as demographic factors and infrastructure development — the presence of even small scientific and educational centres increases economic activity.

From the point of view of territorial development, along with the main economic centres, it is advisable to create sub-centers, Svirina says: there is a potential for this, for example, in Chistopol and Buinsk.

''As a person from the higher education system, I believe that the issue of human capital is extremely important for development. The surplus value is created by people, after all,'' said Aleksey Lopatin

''We are the transit region between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg''

KNRTU-KAI representatives state about the outflow of population from small settlements to larger cities of the republic — ''then the outflow is already from the Republic of Tatarstan''.

The attractiveness of the territories is mainly influenced by the environmental situation, the sufficiency of pre-school institutions and the level of crime. The problem with pre-school institutions has not been solved in many settlements of the region yet, in some areas the need for institutions is only half met. In addition, migration processes are affected by the availability of healthcare facilities and beds in in-patient facilities. No less important is the environmental factor, ''The population is very concerned about the state of atmospheric air.''

''As a person from the higher education system, I believe that the issue of human capital is extremely important for development. The surplus value is created by people, after all,'' said Aleksey Lopatin, the director of the Institute of Aviation and Land Transport at the KNRTU-KAI.

Tatarstan today is one of the leaders in terms of industrial development and, at the same time, one of the leaders in talented youth outflow — ''it is a fact''. At the same time, the republic is consistently ranked the 7-8th in Russia for the admission of gifted students from other regions.

''Young people move from a small town to a big one, then to a bigger one. It's very hard to fight it. But, perhaps, it is not necessary to struggle with it very much, but it is worth turning our difficulties into our advantages?'' offered Lopatin. ''Yes, a lot of people leave us, but even more come to us. We are the transit region between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.'' Taking this into account, the work with young internal migrants can be useful, he believes.

Khomenko cited the statistics: by the number of registered patents Tatarstan is the first in the Volga Federal District

''Whoever pays the piper calls the tune''

Vadim Khomenko, the Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan, criticized the budget policy pursued in Tatarstan. According to him, the authorities do not sufficiently fund science and technological developments. Khomenko cited the statistics: by the number of registered patents Tatarstan is the first in the Volga Federal District. However, there is a problem with the introduction of technologies. The share of innovations in the total volume of shipped products in the region is less than in other regions of the district.

There are also problems in terms of technology exchange. Their import to Russia chronically exceeds the export from the country. In Tatarstan, the situation has only worsened in recent years: the number of contracts for the export of technologies has decreased from 64 in 2013 to 58 in 2017, their cost has also decreased.

The share of regional co-financing of the research and development has also decreased in recent years. ''Tell me, at what extent is it possible to manage the process on the part of the republic? Whoever pays the piper calls the tune,'' said Khomenko.

Besides, he noted, the strategy does not take into account the changes in business relations between countries and regions, ''Today they say that Russia has been staked on rapprochement with China. But where's the analysis? The Tatarstan Republic turns out to be in itself. But it is necessary to have the picture of general, national, international cooperation of division of labour.''

By Artyom Malyutin. Photo: kgeu.ru
Tatarstan