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Ensuring defensive capacity and state security among government's priorities in 2003 - 25 September, 2002

Ensuring the country's defensive capacity and security will be one of the main priorities of the government's work next year, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said.

Next year the government intends to focus on the efficiency of the judicial system, as well as development of the social, science and education areas, support of mothers and children, the Cabinet head announced, presenting the 2003 draft budget in the lower chamber of parliament (the State Duma) on Wednesday.

According to him, "development of the human potential is the paramount aspect for the economy and the living standards to grow in Russia." To this effect, the budget of 2003 increases allocations for social policies by 33.4 % and presupposes the growth of pensions. The shift from the unified wage rate distribution to the branch payment system, which is to come into effect on December 1st, 2003, will bring in a flexible system of material stimulation, the premier pointed out. This will allow to raise payments for employees of state-run organisations by at least 30%.

Another important priority issue of the Cabinet will be maintenance of the village. The 2003 budget sets a goal to enhance the positive trend which has taken shape in the past three years, Mikhail Kasyanov remarked. The draft budget presents the system of effective spending of funds, which are allocated to maintain the country's agribusiness, the official added.

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