Medvedev: Russia to have 1.5% budget deficit in 2013

Russia will have a budget deficit of 1.5% of GDP in 2013, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a Cabinet meeting.

Planned revenue is 12.3 trillion rubles and planned spending - 13.4 trillion rubles, he said.

Healthcare spending will be 500 billion rubles in 2013 and will not be reduced in 2014-2015. "We must finally make the transition to insurance principles of providing and paying for healthcare services and develop competition in this area. More than 500 billion rubles will be spent on healthcare in 2013. Public spending on healthcare will not be scaled down in the years that follow," Medvedev said.

Around 550 billion rubles will be spent on education in 2013, with the emphasis on improving material and technical; support. "I'd like to make special mention of the fact that education in schools has been and will remain free of charge. Strange arguments about this crop up from time to time, but there aren't any such plants and cannot be," Medvedev said.

Federal budget funding for civilian research will be 320 billion rubles, spending on state support for small and medium enterprises will be almost 22 billion rubles and there will be similar amounts in 2014-2015. "Small and medium companies, which will lead the modernization of the economy, need access to financial resources," Medvedev said.

The next budget cycle coincides with the launch of the state program to develop agriculture and regulate the farm produce market. "Budget allocations for the program in 2013 will be practically 145 billion rubles," Medvedev said. The 2013 budget also contains funds to support the sectors that will be the most vulnerable when Russian joins the World Trade Organization.

As for spending on national security, national defense and law and order, Medvedev said this would be about a third of overall spending. "Spending on national security, national defense and law enforcement is growing considerably. Its share in overall spending is very significant - practically a third. Budget funds will be allocated both to develop the armed forces and to modernize the defense industry, to increase pensions and wages for servicemen and others and for the further improvement of military service in our country."

Also, Medvedev said a unified Internet portal should be set up to make the budget process transparent and make information accessible to all interested parties. "Information about revenues and spending by budgets at all levels, on deficits and surpluses, on the fulfillment of financial commitments must be informative and clear to the widest circle of our people," Medvedev said.

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