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09 september

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Population Preservation Index: number of citizens, human capital, quality of life

The CC RF discussed a tool for prioritizing state activities in the field of people's conservation

Population Preservation Index: number of citizens, human capital, quality of life

On September 9, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation hosted the first meeting of the Coordination Council under the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on National Projects and Population Preservation.

The central event was the presentation of the population preservation index prepared by experts and members of the Civic Chamber, which serves as a practical mechanism for taking into account the chief national priority in various national projects, government programmes and governmental decisions.

The Chairman of the Coordination Council, Vice President of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation Alexander Galushka stressed that in this year's Address to the Federal Assembly, the President of the Russian Federation defined the preservation of the population as the highest national priority, and every new law, every programme, and every decision should be assessed in terms of this priority.

“The issue of population preservation has been laid out as a complex task which should permeate all government efforts, and at the same time it cannot have a narrow-departmental approach. It is from this formulation of the task set forth by the President of the Russian Federation that we proceed in our work,” Alexander Galushka explained.

He also recalled that during the meeting with members of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin supported the idea of the Civic Chamber's preparation of regular reports on population preservation, giving the relevant instruction to provide support for civil initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of citizens, including in the field of population preservation.

“The President also instructed us to get involved in the current adjustment of national projects and noted that national projects should be assessed ‘not by impersonal reports of officials, but based on the opinion of people. And the task of the Civic Chamber is to generalize, focus on this opinion, and carefully raise any problematic issues before the authorities at all levels,’” he quoted the Head of State. “The targets formulated by the President and these instructions determine the work of the Coordination Council on National Projects and Population Preservation,” he added.

The Director for Strategic Communications at the Center for Regional Development and Support of Priority Projects, Advisor to the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Central Federal District Sergey Kachaev spoke about the methodology and direction of using the population preservation index, prepared by experts and members of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. He explained that the population preservation index was formed from indicators of population growth, improvement in human capital and quality of life. According to the expert, the index consists of 53 statistical and 79 sociological indicators.

“The index allows us to assess the effectiveness of government decisions in the field of population preservation, prioritize government projects and government population preservation programmes and increase the country's population, as well as provide public monitoring and control over the implementation of the top national priority,” he said.

Sergey Kachaev highlighted the correlation of the results of national projects and the perception of these results by the population. “There is often an incongruity in the assessments of the effectiveness of national projects by the population and the authorities. It is important to timely and promptly learn about this incongruity, identify it, correct efforts as needed or organize work at the proper level in order to inform the population about the plans and results of national projects. In addition, the index allows us to assess the quality of the work of management teams and organize work on informing the population about the plans and results achieved,” he was quoted as saying.

The Assistant to the Vice President of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation Maksim Okulov spoke about the concept of the Inclusive Development Index, published on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which methodologically coincides with the population preservation index.

“The authors of the concept of the inclusive development index are concerned about social inequality and consider it as a possible cause of problems in relation to the growth rates of the economies of not only developing, but also developed countries. They consider this index as an alternative to GDP, but at the same time GDP is considered to be an important integral statistical indicator, in fact, the basis of the inclusive development index,” he explained.

However, the expert noted that there was a significant difference: the inclusive development index operates only with statistical data, excluding the data of sociological research, i.e. no feedback is provided, that is why the population preservation index explores the problem in more depth.

According to Valentin Timakov, international expert in the field of human capital and General Director at the Agency for the Development of Human Capital in the Russian Far East (2015-2018), the experience of practical application of the population preservation index in the Far Eastern Federal District has shown that it can be used to rank regions according to the degree of population preservation development.

“There were many discoveries that made it possible to offer each region its own set of measures to develop the labor market, education, support of childbirth, etc. In our opinion, the tested index can be used taking into account the relevant improvements,” he summed up.

The expert was supported by the Governor of Transbaikal Krai Alexander Osipov. “The task and basic function of any governor is to provide for the lives of people, as well as create conditions for their development and self-realization. The index is a tool that allows us to objectively assess the human capital and quality of life of people in each region and provides a wide range of options for practical application.”

Alexander Osipov clarified that such an assessment should be carried out not only at the regional, but also at the district levels, and proposed the Trans-Baikal Territory as a pilot region for implementing the population preservation index.

The participants of the event voiced their proposals for adjusting the methodology of the population preservation index. Thus, Artur Niyazmetov, Deputy Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Central Federal District, believes that the calculation of the index should include the results of a targeted survey of the population on simple questions such as “How do you feel?”, “Do you like your life?”, “Do you want your children and grandchildren to live here?” In his opinion, this will make it possible to better understand how happy people are in a particular region and how the task set forth by the President is being fulfilled.

The Deputy Head of the Office of the President of the Russian Federation for Supporting the Activities of the State Council of the Russian Federation Vadim Zelenev proposed including indicators of urban environment comfort in the population preservation index. In his opinion, today this most clearly reflects the quality of life of the population.

The First Deputy Chair of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Territorial Development and Local Government Svetlana Razvorotneva agreed with him, stating that the index lacks important indicators that make the city attractive for living such as a comfortable urban environment, the quality of public utilities, availability of social infrastructure, accessibility of transport, etc.

Sergey Vakhrukov, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, drew attention to the limited resources required for implementing such a large number of national projects and government programmes.

“Most often, many issues of using certain resources are resolved in the short term and are redistributed rather quickly, and if we have set a long-term priority, it is very important for us to have an integrated strategic approach to implementing this basic priority for developing the Russian Federation and ensuring national security,” he said.

According to Sergey Rybalchenko, Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Demography, Protection of Family, Children and Traditional Family Values, the country faces huge problems since the situation with demography is quite difficult.

“If we remain with the indicators of the current birthrate and life expectancy that we have now, then in 10 years’ time, by 2030, we will lose eight million people in terms of natural decrease. This information is based on data from Rosstat. This year alone, the decline will be at the level of more than half a million people. It is clear that these eight million citizens will be replaced, but by whom?” asked Sergey Rybalchenko. “The quality of the population and the index you have prepared are of paramount importance!”

The expert also touched upon the proposed calculation method – he did not see indicators such as the income of the population, as well as the total time of receiving education. Sergey Rybalchenko recalled that in UN calculations these indicators were present. In addition, he believes that it is important to understand what the maximum and minimum levels are that ensure sustainable indicators of population growth.

The First Deputy Chairman of the Coordination Council, Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Development of Economy and Corporate Social Responsibility Boris Aleshin is convinced that adjusting national projects should start with basic technologies, which require urgent attention in the modern reality. Without them it would be impossible to achieve the desired indicators in any sphere.

“National projects are tools that the government implements, and on our part, we must submit proposals to the government. I propose to move forward promptly and without delay, taking into account all the proposals put forward. Today we can accept what has been developed and use it in practical terms when reporting to the President. This will serve as a crucial incentive and stimulate us to work further, in conjunction with the government, in order to more effectively influence the quality of national projects and adjust them if necessary,” he was cited as saying.

The Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Territorial Development and Local Government Andrey Maksimov believes that right now, after the creation of the population preservation index, the most important task at hand is how to implement the opportunities it provides.

“You need to understand how to assess the activities of specific regions, for example, at certain time intervals, in order to understand that each region is developing independently and a direct correlation between the activities of the authorities and statistical indicators cannot always be identified,” he said.

The First Deputy Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Demography, Protection of Family, Children and Traditional Family Values Pavel Pozhigailo proposed to introduce the concept of ‘demographic evaluation’ in relation to all existing projects.

“We are talking about assessments, however, we have a large number of initiatives that have an anti-demographic element,” he stated.

The First Deputy Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Development of Agricultural Sector and Rural Areas Oleg Sirota highlighted the fact that the main outflow of the population occurs in rural areas.

“I would like rural areas to be worked out separately as part of the population preservation index criteria,” said the social activist.

He was supported by the Chair of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Ecology and Environmental Protection Elena Sharoykina who indicated that there was no agricultural element in national projects as an indicator of food security. In addition, she believes that the importance of ecology can be increased in the population preservation index.

Member of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Development of Economy and Corporate Social Responsibility Yevgenia Dmitrieva considers it productive to use the best international practices in calculating the well-being index and integrate the national index into international ones.

Summing up the results of the first meeting of the Coordination Council, Alexander Galushka stressed that specific proposals would be prepared when applying the population preservation index in practice. He also expressed hope that all subsequent meetings of the council would be equally productive.

“When we consider specific national projects with specific issues, taking into account the chief national priority, our task is to come up with substantial proposals. The Civic Chamber unites sincere, professional people who are not indifferent and who are well-versed on issues to which they have dedicated all their lives. It is with this approach in mind that we will consider and review each national project,” he concluded.

Tags: Svetlana Razvorotneva, Pavel Pozhigailo, Boris Aleshin, Andrey Maximov, Sergey Rybalchenko, Alexander Galushka, Yevgenia Dmitrieva, Oleg Sirota, Elena Sharoykina

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