The digital economy will give Russia a chance for a breakthrough in the future

The digital economy will give Russia a chance for a breakthrough in the future


MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. The presidential Council on strategic development and priority projects reviewed and approved a draft programme “Digital economy”, which, according to President Vladimir Putin, will allow Russia to implement the “breakthrough to the future”. Now the authors of the program have to be finalized taking into account the wishes of the members of the Council and to solve the main question of financing, in which the differences between agencies are maintained.

The Ministry of communications and mass communications of the Russian Federation about six months preparing the draft programme of development of the digital economy of Russia with participation of representatives of other ministries and departments as well as business representatives and experts. The program is instructed to prepare Putin in early December 2016 in his address to the Federal Assembly. Before the presentation at the state Council document was discussed in the government.

According to the head of state, the draft digital economy development in Russia is on a par with such major transformations as the mass railway construction in the nineteenth century and electrification of the country in the first half of the twentieth century. Putin believes that the development of the digital economy – unprecedented in its scale, importance and impact on the life of the country and of each individual project which will be implemented, “based on accumulated technological and intellectual potential”.

Putin urged to use all existing Russian resources in order to make a breakthrough in the development of the digital economy. The head of state is confident that Russia in any case should not lag behind in the global race for new technologies.

Why Russia digital economy

The Russian leader has noticed that, perhaps among the Russians there are those who asks the question: “Why do we need transition to a digital economy, because we have everything: we have oil, gas, coal, metals, and a variety, black and colored, and gold, platinum, and diamonds?”. During the Council meeting he explained the importance of the digital economy for Russia and each of its inhabitants.

According to Putin, the main directions of development of the country’s digital economy is the elimination of legal barriers to the introduction of advanced technologies, the creation of a support infrastructure for the digital economy, a serious improvement of entire education system (including the provision of universal digital literacy) and the launch of support local companies-centers of competence in the field of digital technologies.

The presence of the digital economy “through nature,” said the head of the Ministry Nikolai Nikiforov. According to him, today it is difficult to determine the boundary between digital and non-digital economy. “Digital conversion occur in almost every industry. Today there is no industry neither in the world nor in Russia, which did not survive the process of digital transformation,” he added.

Nikiforov said that the main idea of the program “Digital economy” – to create in Russia a certain set of conditions for starting and acceleration of the digitalization of the usual living and economic structure. Priority application areas in the development of the digital economy, the Minister proposed to make healthcare, public administration and “smart city”. However, these areas the program will not be limited to, the list of industries in the program will be gradually expanded.

McKinsey estimate that the share of digital economy in the volume of Russia’s GDP by 2025 could increase from the current 3.9% to 8-10%. It is assumed that the volume of the digital economy Russia will triple from 3.2 trillion rubles in 2015 to RUB 9.6 trillion in 2025 (in 2015 prices). The Minister believes that these figures may be even higher.

A detailed plan for three years

During the meeting of the Council, the President of Russia demanded to determine the volume of funds allocated for the development of the digital economy, as well as sources and mechanisms of funding. According to him, in 2017 the Federal and regional authorities will spend on information technology to almost 200 billion rubles, and you need to decide how to improve the efficiency of the use of these funds. The President also instructed to identify specific targets and deadlines for the development of the digital economy in Russia and the responsible parties.

Nikiforov, speaking at a meeting of the Council a report on the digital economy, announced that the implementation costs of this program will be about 100 billion rubles a year. According to the head of the Ministry of communications, this program is fixing the goals for 2024, and concrete steps towards these goals will be spelled out in a moving three-year plan that must be approved by the government. You will also find sources of financing and responsible person, he said.

Nikiforov also noted that the implementation of the whole complex of measures on development of the digital economy, Russia will need “a fundamentally different model of management of implementation and financial support of the program.”

The question of creation of Fund is not solved

The government of the Russian Federation in the course of work on the program discussed creation of a separate Fund for the digital economy approximately 100 billion rubles – the initiator of this idea was made by the Federal government. This money will help to create, including infrastructure (networks, datacenters, hardware) for the digital economy.

However, the final decision on the issue of creation of separate Fund is not – the Ministry is trying to establish a unified position on this issue. “Will it be a Fund or some other structure these difficult discussions are the government”, – said Nikiforov.

The proposal of the Ministry of communications is to isolate the costs for the implementation of the digital economy in the total budget expenditures and to make them “protected”. According to Nikiforov, about two-thirds of the estimated volume of the Fund is contained in the budget, and another third may be required. The Minister noted that the Ministry of Finance is skeptical about the idea of separation of funds in the Federal budget, although such precedents exist. The Minister cited the example of Federal road Fund. At the same time Deputy economic development Minister Oleg Fomichev told TASS that the idea of creating a separate Fund for the digital economy worthy of discussion, but needs improvement.

The Minister assured that the creation of a separate Fund needs to implement plans for the development of the digital economy. He drew attention to the fact that the information technology industry has never been subsidized from the budget, but today, thanks to the political support of the President of the Russian Federation, it is possible to implement such a practice.

“We need to recognize that for many years, decades, we annually allocated from the Federal budget funds to support sectors such as agriculture (annually about 230-250 billion roubles). About 100 billion rubles allocated for sectors such as aviation and car industry, not to mention the space program. Support light industry and so on,” – said the Minister. “The meaning of the program “Digital economy” that the President represents a clear political priority – without this long-term competitive development of our economy and improve the quality of life is impossible. Today, therefore, an urgent need to set priorities a little differently,” said Nikiforov.

Million “it people”

The Minister said the President of Russia for the effective development of the digital economy need to prepare a million IT professionals. According to him, Russia now has 500 thousand programmers. However, the digital economy needs specialists with competences in a broad sense: not only software developers, but highly qualified specialists in different fields who have digital knowledge, skills and experience. The Minister believes that the Russian Federation needed to make an attractive jurisdiction for developers of advanced digital technologies.

According to the Institute for statistical studies and Economics of knowledge, higher school of Economics, in Russia the share of specialists in the field of information and communication technologies in the total number of persons employed does not exceed 2%. At the same time, in countries such as Finland, Sweden and the UK, this indicator reaches 5-6%, it is noted in the newsletter “the Digital skills of the population.”

Director of program “Young professionals” strategic initiatives Agency Dmitry Peskov (responsible for the development of programs for personnel and education) at the meeting of the Council noted that the people is really the key limitation of the program. However, for a breakthrough, in his opinion, not just a million programmers, but only 120 of the thousands of highly skilled programmers and engineers. According to Peskov, in the future low-skilled programmers will replace artificial intelligence, “in no event it is impossible to oversleep.” Unemployed professionals, which will replace artificial intelligence, will remain in the programme “Digital economy” envisages the creation of a “system of digital vouchers, which are aimed at getting fit for the digital economy competencies using an online education system”, said the representative of ASI.

The head of Sberbank German Gref at a meeting of Council proposed to include in the key Russian universities program, in which students will be taught blockchain technology. In addition, for the implementation and development of the blockchain support from the state is not needed.

In General, according to the HSE, four-fifths of the population aged 15 to 72 years has ever used a computer, the same went online. The most common computer skills in Russia, according to Rosstat, the use of text editors, transferring files between a computer and peripheral devices and working with spreadsheets.

Only every fifth Russian knows how to use programs to edit photos, video and audio files, says the HSE. According to this indicator, Russia is almost on the same level with Ireland, the Czech Republic and Cyprus. While in countries such as Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland and the UK, these computer operations is capable of every second person.

The process is already running

According to the President, in recent years Russia has considerably advanced in many areas of digital development. So, the dynamics of the spread of broadband and wireless networks RF is at the level of leading countries. According to Rosstat, from 2010 to 2016 the number of households with Internet access rose from 48.4% to 74.8%, said the President. While the average Internet speed in Russia in 2016 increased by 29%, which is comparable with France and Italy.

Putin also added that by early 2017 the Russian market of the commercial centers of data storage and processing have risen to 14.5 billion rubles According to him, due to the high level of competence of Russian IT-specialists of the Russian Federation offer a unique software solution that are used including the creation of the “smart cities”.

State-owned companies already are active in promoting the digital economy of Russia and do not plan to stop there. “Rostelecom” prepares for the end of the year to present its new strategy, consistent with the programme of development of the digital economy. On Tuesday, the head of the state operator Mikhail Oseyevsky, during the state Council stated that “Rostelecom” for five years, plans to invest up to RUB 130 billion in basic infrastructure for the digital economy of Russia – the system of information transmission, processing and storage of data.

Oseevsky believes that the establishment and development of basic infrastructure for the digital economy of Russia – it is rather a problem of business, not the state. “Today’s business and such companies as “Rostelecom”, it is able to meet the needs of all sectors in building this infrastructure,” – said the head of “Rostelecom”.

Quantum computer and the “factory of the future”

But state assistance is needed in other areas. Thus, the head of Sberbank German Gref said that the business will not cope with the task of developing a quantum computer, you need the help of the state. Gref noted that Russia needs its own quantum computer. “We need our own development of a quantum computer. Will appear on the market quantum computing, and will be a huge gap between those who have and those who do not. Technology, of course, needs to be nationalized,” he explained. According to the head of the savings Bank, to implement the project of creation of the quantum computer is possible, including through public-private partnerships.

The state Corporation “rostec”, in turn, plans to launch the first “factory of the future” by the end of this year, said Minister of industry and trade of Russia Denis Manturov. “Factory of the future” means new format industrial sites, combining technology and business solutions. The first such platform will be based on UEC “Saturn” and will be a testing ground for developing technologies, which are applicable, in particular, in the manufacture of complex aircraft parts. According to Manturov, only by 2035 in Russia was created about 40 “factories of the future”, 25 test sites and 15 experimental digital certification authorities.

To create a complete network of “factories of the future” we need to establish technology and regulatory framework, the Minister explained. He noted that the Ministry is now implementing a separate program of development of cross-sectoral standards in such areas as cyber-physical systems, mathematical modeling, industrial “Internet of things”, “smart manufacturing” and “smart cities” in the framework of the digitalization of industry.

Digital leadership in Moscow

A leader in the development of the digital economy is Moscow. For example, the capital is among the world leaders in the use of digital technologies in the urban environment ahead while Toronto and Sydney, Putin said. The Russian President noted that for certain indices, Moscow is among the three leaders, but, for example, the level of use of digital services in the interaction between state and citizens – in the first place in the world. Putin also mentioned the creation of infrastructure for the implementation of innovative solutions, where Moscow is in second place in the world. To create new business models based on mass adoption of advanced technologies, the Russian capital in third place. The head of state noted that the competences developed by Moscow can be used in other areas.

Analysts PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also included a capital in the top five ranking of the largest cities and agglomerations of the world, the most ready for the introduction of high technology. According to the study, in the first place was Singapore (62% willingness), the second place – London (59%), the third Shanghai (55%). The five leaders completing Moscow and new York (53%). It is noted that the Russian capital has taken leading positions on indicators such as a service for citizens, infrastructure readiness, adaptive, open education, and digital economy.

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