Digital Tatarstan: 12,6bn in human capital and IT development
12 billion will help Tatarstan to become digital
Digital Tatarstan large-scale state programme was approved in Tatarstan. The Ministry of Digitalisation and Tatmedia are the clients. The Tatarstan authorities are ready to spend over 12 billion rubles on its implementation from 2022 to 2024, of which only a billion will be taken from the federal budget.
The efficiency of tens of information systems, from housing and utility services to museums, the 5G coverage in the republic’s largest cities, tablets for emergency services and 100% possibility of distance education of all schools are to be the result of the state programme. Only a shortage of IT staff, IT companies, which account for less than 3% across the republic, small investments in information technologies and even the fact that a fifth of all Tatarstan households is still connected to the Internet via phone copper cables, not optic fibre, can become a deterrent.
The Cabinet of Ministers approved the state programme Digital Tatarstan on 19 October. The Ministry of Finance has been appointed as the coordinator of the programme. However, the republican Ministry of Finance has to now annually find and provide money to the programme. Other ministries and agencies of local self-governments are now obliged to implement the programme. “A wide use of digital technologies in the state and municipal administration system, citizens’ better quality of life and working conditions, improvement of conditions of organisations’ activity, development of the infrastructure of the innovative and economic potential of the Republic of Tatarstan” must become the goal of their steps.
Public support for development of economic environment and “human capital in IT”
The programme will start to be implemented in 2022. In practice, its tasks are quite ambitious and will require corresponding finance: it is anyway a transition to “a digital model of state and municipal administration,” not to mention the development of the digital economy.
The minimum threshold of the programme is to try to provide all Tatarstan residents with the fast and affordable Internet, equal access to the media environment. The Ministry of Digitalisation and the agencies mentioned in the state programme must deliver a report in late 2024.
In any case, the programme itself will last for three years and require 12,6 billion rubles, Tatarstan will borrow only 1,1 billion of this sum from the federal budget. The Tatarstan Ministry of Finance will have to find the other 11,5 billion rubles at regional level.
In 2022, 4,2 billion rubles will be spent on the Digital Tatarstan programme, 4,7 billion rubles — a year later, nearly 3,8 billion rubles — in 2024. At the same time, it is planned that Moscow will finance the programme just partly in 2022 and 2023 — 263,3 and 884,2 billion respectively.
4,87 billion rubles from this amount will be spent to digitalise state and municipal services and develop information and telecommunication infrastructure. Another 4,8 billion will be used to “develop and improve the infrastructure of the information space” of Tatarstan. Ultimately, almost 3 billion rubles will be spent on state support for the development of the economic environment and “human capital in IT.”
Nevertheless, the authors of the programme warn that the numbers are just a forecast and can be reconsidered. Given inflation in Russia, they will likely increase.
5G coverage of the largest cities, tablets for emergency services and 100% possibility of online education
After spending almost 12 billion rubles of regional money, the republican authorities wait for the feedback.
Firstly, it is expected that 82% of all Tatarstan residents above 14 years will be signed up in the Unified System Identification and Authentication. To put it simply, it is the so-called e-passport a Tatarstan citizen can use to sign in in the State Services app.
Secondly, 94% of Tatarstan residents with disabilities must be registered in the Database for People with Disabilities by 2024. This system interacting with the same State Services “allows providing services to fix pensions and monthly payouts for the disabled according to the information from the register without demanding additional certificates and documents.”
Thirdly, 100% of all schools and other educational institutions must have the possibility of providing online education and have access to e-books. It is noteworthy here that during the pandemic in Tatarstan, there was a problem in remote rural districts and schools that did not have a stable and high-speed Internet connection.
Fourthly, the share of e-services must increase by 15%, while the amount of “mass socially important services available electronically” must almost double by 2024. Now 365 state services are provided electronically in Tatarstan, it is planned to digitalise another 43 services by the end of the year.
Fifthly, all state and municipal power agencies must have access to the state integrated system of telecommunications, while the number of jobs must grow by 5%.
Finally, the Tatarstan authorities are going to cover the republic’s largest cities with the 5G network in the next three years. In practice, ten state information networks are due to appear by 2024 — from the State Information System of the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan to the United Base of Tatarstan Museum Collections, let alone the improvement of the existing state information systems monitoring the execution of a programme of housing major repairs and the subprogramme Utility Payments.
Also, the Tatarstan authorities intend to equip all emergency brigades with tablets. The 112 services will finally switch to the GLONASS United State Information System.
A separate programme will change the state support for TV and radio broadcasting of Tatarstan to “form a civic society” and “provide the equal rights to the two official languages of Tatarstan” too. A billion rubles will annually be allocated for this from 2022 to 2024.
87% of the population use the Internet in Tatarstan
It is noted in the programme that the speed of the state’s technological development becomes an important factor of leadership, while the share of the digital economy in GDP proves the beginning of “a new technological revolution.” In their work, the authors cite several studies, particularly the United Nations E-Government Survey 2018 and a Doing Business rating according to which the digitalisation level directly correlates with the quality of public administration and the country’s development. By the way, Doing Business stopped its existence a month ago due to World Bank employees’ manipulations.
At the same time, 70% of the Russians use the Internet regularly — this is the amount of citizens who use the Internet on mobile devices. Much more people use it in Tatarstan — 87,6%. The programme separately notes that the amount of data accumulated in the world will total 163 zettabytes by 2025, which is ten times bigger than the data in 2016.
The authors of the programme assure us that nowadays Tatarstan has already completed the main stage of the creation of the infrastructure that is necessary for digitalisation — 9,000 socially important organisations have been connected to the Internet and the state system, the mobile network coverage has reached 99,8%, 54 state and ministerial information system already operate. Tatarstan ranks second in the rating of innovative Russian regions and in the rating of the regions’ investment climate.
A fifth of households are connected to the Net via mobile phone, while only 3% of all investments are invested in the IT sector
However, some factors can scotch Tatarstan’s digitalisation. Among them, it is a shortage of scientific IT research and an insufficient level of interdepartmental interaction and data exchange. Employees of the Tatarstan Ministry of Digitalisation often say that information systems of one ministry don’t interact with the system of another ministry too.
Interestingly, the costs on the programme in the programme are questioned. Due to the absence of real data on the costs of information systems introduced in public administration, it is unclear how to “optimise” public spending in the IT sector.
At last, there is a deficit of staff for digital transformation, though salaries are above the average republican wage by a third. The average sector in the IT sector is nearly 52,000 rubles. While just 3% of the Tatarstan population, or a bit more than 41,000 people, work in this sector. Just 3,000 IT companies, that’s to say, less than 3% of all Tatarstan commercial organisations, are in the United State Register of Legal Entities. However, there are only three backbone IT companies across the republic: it is ICL, Tattelecom and Bars Group. The share of all Tatarstan IT companies’ income, which is 4,8 billion rubles, is less than 2%.
The situation with investments in the IT sphere is doing the worst. No more than 9-10 billion rubles, less than 3% of all investments in the republic’s economy, were annually invested in it from 2016 to 2020. It is mentioned in the programme that for some reason the fact that only 57% of households have the optic-fibre Internet and 20% still use it in the old way — through phone cooper wires — isn’t considered negative.
At the same time, last year, Tatarstan residents broke the record in Internet traffic consumption, which doubled. However, the authors of the programme forgot to indicate why it rose — because of the lockdown and coronavirus-related restrictions.
To help the IT environment, particularly the Ministry of Finance will organise business incubators for small entrepreneurs, which by the way Kazan’s IT Park used to deal with, give them grants to teach information technologies. In fact, IT Park will again “raise the investment attractiveness of the Republic of Tatarstan” by “attracting innovative projects to the business incubator.”