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Russia's new PM pledges to accelerate work on national projects

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s new prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, promised on Thursday to speed up work on achieving national goals set two years ago by President Vladimir Putin across a wide range of policy areas from health to infrastructure.

Mikhail Mishustin, who was nominated by Russian President Vladimir Putin as the candidate for the post of Prime Minister, delivers a speech during a session of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in Moscow, Russia January 16, 2020. The State Duma, The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation/Handout via REUTERS

Mishustin was Putin’s surprise choice to head the government as part of a major political and constitutional overhaul that could see the president retain his grip on power beyond 2024, when his fourth term ends.

The goals, first announced by Putin in 2018, envisage higher state spending in 13 key areas to spur stalled economic growth and make Russia the world’s fifth biggest economy by 2024.

Spending on these target areas will total around 25.7 trillion roubles (£319.6 billion) and involve private as well as state funds, according to government plans.

Here are some of the key targets from each national project.

1. HEALTHCARE - Costs: 1.73 trillion roubles

- Make medical care readily available to all Russians

- Raise the average life expectancy of Russians to 78 by 2024 from 71.6 now

2. EDUCATION - Costs: 785 billion roubles

- Make the Russian education system globally competitive and enter the world’s top 10 in terms of quality

- Make higher education attractive for foreigners and double the number of applicants from abroad

3. DEMOGRAPHY - Costs: 3.11 trillion roubles

- Increase the birth rate to 1.7 children per woman by 2024, from 1.62

- Financial support to improve families’ well-being, including preferential mortgage rates at 6% and free courses for women on maternity leave


4. CULTURE - Costs: 114 billion roubles

- Increase visits to cultural institutions by 15%, including theatres and libraries

- Raise the number of people with access to digital cultural resources, such as online streaming of events

5. SAFE AND QUALITY ROADS - Costs: 4.78 trillion roubles

- Reduce road deaths by one third by 2024 through investment in road infrastructure and smart traffic control systems

6. HOUSING AND URBAN ENVIRONMENT - Costs: 1.07 trillion roubles

- Provide affordable housing to middle-income families, including mortgage loans of less than 8%

- Build 53 million square metres of residential buildings each year by 2024

7. ECOLOGY - Costs: 4.04 trillion roubles

- Create five new national parks with an area of three million hectares

8. SCIENCE - Costs: 636 billion roubles

- Become one of the world’s top five countries in scientific research and development, from 11th place in 2019

- Make Russia more attractive to foreign scientists, with 30% of all new laboratories to be led by young researchers

9. SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES (SMEs) - Costs: 482 billion roubles

- Have 25 million people employed in SMEs or working as individual entrepreneurs by 2024

- Increase the share of SMEs as a percentage of GDP to 32.5 by 2024 from 22.9 in 2019

10. THE DIGITAL ECONOMY - Costs: 1.63 trillion roubles

- Make the internet accessible to everyone, up from 45.2% in 2019, and cover the largest Russian cities with 5G

11. PRODUCTIVITY AND EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT - Costs: 52 billion roubles

- Grow labour productivity by 5% per year for medium and large companies

12. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND EXPORTS - Costs: 957 billion roubles

- Raise exports of goods outside the energy and raw material sectors to $250 billion by 2024 from $160 billion in 2019

- Increase the share of exports in manufacturing and agricultural products and services to 20% of GDP by 2024

13. MODERNISATION OF INFRASTRUCTURE - Costs: 6.35 trillion roubles

- Modernise all key travel infrastructure, including air travel, railways, roads, sea and river infrastructure, in an effort to increase economic connectivity across the country

Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Gareth Jones