Russia's Federal Service on Hydrometeorology and Environment Monitoring (Rosgidromet) plans to earn over a billion rubles in 2004.
"In 2004, we are expected to earn 1,100,000,000 rubles (around $37 million), while 2,340,000,000 rubles will be allocated from the budget," Rosgidromet chief Alexander Bedritsky said in a RIA Novosti interview.
This year's budgetary allocations are not sufficient either, noted Mr. Bedritsky.
"We are doing everything possible," said Mr. Bedritsky. Private services' returns should account for 20-25% or a maximum of 35% of budgetary allocations, which is a common world practice, according to the Rosgidromet chief. "Our services accounted for 50% of federal funds, which was due to underfinancing," said Mr. Bedritsky.
Among other things, Rosgidromet needs a hydrometeorological vessel, which costs, along with relevant equipment, some 100 million rubles, for research at the Black Sea.
"We cannot afford to buy all we need on our own earnings," said Mr. Bedritsky.
Financing specific projects is essential for improving and updating the service's activities, believes the Rosgidroment chief.
"Financing specific projects is a more advanced method," said Mr. Bedritsky.
Mr. Bedritsky is pleased with the fact that his service became subordinate directly to the central government.
"Congratulations to the service. The problems facing hydrometeorology are obviously more successfully addressed under the government's supervision," said Mr. Bedritsky.
Mr. Bedritsky believes the service's performance will now improve.
Since 1929 the service has several times been placed under other bodies' control. On April 30, 1998, for example, the service was taken over by the state environment committee. Rosgidromet was part of the committee till September 22, 1999.
Mr. Bedritsky believes it was a mistake as meteorology and environment problems are completely different. "The meteorological service's main objective is to protect the economy and people from natural calamities, while environmental services fight environment pollution," said Mr. Bedritsky.
When asked about changes that may be brought to the service, Mr. Bedritsky said the service would not undergo radical changes. It will continue working to ensure the interests of the population, the government and the global community. Rosgidromet is not likely to undergo structural changes either, according to Mr. Bedritsky.