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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

E-Russia Threatened By Cuts in Financing


Itar-Tass

Communications Minister Leonid Reiman

A drop in federal funding could delay some projects under the Electronic Russia program, which aims to boost the use of information technology throughout the country, the Communications Ministry said Tuesday.

Under the federal budget for 2003, 1.4 billion rubles ($44.4 million) was allocated for E-Russia, or less than 20 percent than originally planned. Most of the financing will be used for so-called priority programs, the ministry said.

One of the priority programs is "electronic government," which funds posting information online about governmental agencies and their activities.

The government earlier this month ordered all government agencies to publish information not regarded as a state secret, including financial data, on their web sites in an effort to curb corruption. The corresponding resolution was signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

Other priority projects include improving computer network infrastructure, boosting IT education and working out the necessary legislation and coordination for E-Russia projects in the regions.

A total budget of 76.15 billion rubles was originally approved for the eight-year E-Russia program. The federal budget was expected to provide around 39 billion rubles, regional budgets were to contribute 22.5 billion rubles and non-budgetary sources 14.7 billion rubles.

Regional budgets are expected to provide more funding for the program than planned to compensate for the lack of federal money.

Federal financing for E-Russia was cut 28 percent to 431 million rubles last year, when the Communications Ministry had hoped to lay the groundwork for the program. Regional budgets provided 39 million rubles.

The ministry expected to work out mechanisms to administer the program and coordinate regional E-Russia projects.

Despite the lack of funding, the ministry said it was largely successful in implementing E-Russia, which has started 39 projects.

Government information was published online, an electronic commerce system was set up for government agencies, allowing them to buy supplies through the Internet, and some official paperwork was brought online, the ministry said.

Furthermore, under the Cyberpost program, some 2,600 public Internet access points were opened in post offices in 83 regions, Communications Minister Leonid Reiman said. Some 800 of those access points were opened in rural areas.

The number of public Internet access points should be increased in 2003 and connection speed should be higher, Reiman said without elaborating.