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Putin visions new development plans for Russia
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Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined a series of new development strategies for the country at a State Council session on Friday.

The president, who will step down after eight years in office following the March 2 presidential elections, said that Russia has so far failed to get rid of an 'inert' dependence on natural resources, the RIA news agency reported.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks to the State Council in Moscow's Kremlin Feb 8, 2008.  Putin outlines a series of new development strategies for the country at a State Council session. [Xinhua Photo]

Innovative development is the only alternative to dependence on natural resources, said Putin, who chaired a meeting of the consultative State Council in the Kremlin to outline the concept of strategic long-term development of the country up to the year 2020.

"The strategy of innovative development relies on human potential and the effective use of knowledge and individual skills," Putin said.

"The paces of innovational development must be cardinally higher than those we have today," Putin added.

He urged the use of the experience and resources accumulated over the past eight years to launch Russia into a brand new stage of development and set the goal of forming a society of equal opportunities free of poverty and providing security guarantees to every citizen in Russia.

"We should strive to form such a society, and I am certain that we will succeed," Putin said.

Authorities should bear in mind the personal security of citizens, he said, explaining that security, in its broadest sense, means that it could provide protection for life and property, favorable environment, good transport and public utility infrastructures and efficient prevention of man-made disasters.

"Russia should become the best country for career opportunities and for encouraging talented and successful people," the president said.

Meanwhile, the president also called for the decentralization of power in Russia.

Excessive centralization has remained one of the main problems of the modern public administration, he said, adding that the governmental system in Russia is too bureaucratic and is not motivated for dynamic development.

"Today's governmental bodies are a very bureaucratic, corrupt system which is not motivated for positive changes, let alone dynamic development," he said.

"The government makes any decision, even the simplest one, for months and sometimes years."

Putin stressed that the government should be a center, which develops strategic plans, approves federal programs, with clearly set tasks and assessment criteria, rather than to get bogged down in redundant trivialities.

With regard to economic development, Putin said that Russia could double its gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2009 if the current economic growth rate could be maintained.

"The country's GDP has grown 72 percent since 2000. If current GDP growth of 7.2 percent is sustained, then GDP could be doubled as early as the end of next year, 2009," Putin said.

While talking about the existing problems in Russia's economic development, Putin called for a reduction in the state-controlled sector of the economy and for more private investment incentives.

He said that Russia can no longer afford maintaining the massive state-owned sector it has today. "It is apparent that the state is unable to and does not need to run such a large state-owned sector."

According to Russia's Statistics Service, Russia's GDP growth reached 8.1 percent last year.

(Xinhua News Agency February 9, 2008)

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