Tatarstan budget 2021: education and culture avoid budget cuts, Tatmedia to be provided with additional funding

In spite of that the coronavirus pandemic has made an almost 34-billion hole in the budget of the republic

The Treasury of Tatarstan has lost almost 34 billion rubles since the beginning of the year because of the pandemic. Most of the arrears are related to income tax, the collection rate of which has fallen by half. Nevertheless, the budget expenditure items for 2021 for education, culture, science and ethnic issues have remained the same, and some have even increased. How deputies of the relevant committee of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan asked to pay attention to the state of institutions of additional education and analyse the effectiveness of the programme to support the Tatar language — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

101.7bn rubles — for education, 14.6bn — for culture

On 19 October, Deputy Finance Minister of Tatarstan Aleksey Shishkin announced the main parameters of the budget 2021, the funds for which will be directed to education, culture, media and science. He noted that in general, despite the difficult economic situation associated with the pandemic, and, as a result, a significant drop in income tax revenues, it was decided not to touch spending on social issues — they remained at the same level. As well as on all relevant budget programmes, which are about twenty.

In particular, 101,7 billion rubles will be allocated for education in 2021. This is one of the most expensive areas of the social block. Due to additional payments to class teachers and the organisation of free school meals for primary school students, subventions to municipalities will be increased from 17,8 to 20,2 billion rubles, and subsidies for additional education will increase to 7,9 billion rubles.

Expenditures on culture and cinematography from the consolidated budget will amount to 14,6 billion rubles, of which 9 billion rubles — from the republican budget and 5,6 billion — from local budgets. Grants for theatres in the amount of almost 363 million rubles remain, and 3 billion rubles have been allocated for major repairs of cultural institutions.

Aleksey Shishkin noted that it was decided not to touch the expenses for social issues

536,6 million rubles will be spent on scientific research, maintenance of scientific institutes, grants to scientists, awards in the field of science, etc.

The budget provides more than 1,5 billion rubles to support the media. This includes expenses for the maintenance of the office of the republican agency for press and mass communications Tatmedia, which Shishkin decided not to disclose. But he noted that they, in comparison with 2020, will increase, although, for comparison, officials' salary indexation have been frozen until 2023.

At the expense of national projects

Federal investments in national projects should be a good help. Deputy Minister of Economy of Tatarstan Oleg Pelevin said that 20,2 billion rubles will be allocated for these purposes, including 12,5 billion rubles from the Russian budget.

According to Pelevin, due to the implementation of national projects, this year it is planned to carry out capital construction and repairs of more than 330 objects, including 16 objects in the field of education and culture. This includes the construction of five rural cultural centres, major repairs to the puppet theatre in Naberezhnye Chelny, the construction of sports facilities, twelve kindergartens, five schools, etc. National projects also provide for funding for exhibitions, festivals, competitions for grants to creative teams, digitisation of book publications, etc.

According to Pelevin, due to the implementation of national projects, this year it is planned to carry out capital construction and repair of more than 330 objects

The deputy minister of economy of Tatarstan said that during the pandemic, the federal centre supported a number of Tatarstan educational organisations — the Kazan Federal University and the Kazan National Research Technological University have been included in the list of system-forming organisations of the Russian economy and have the opportunity to apply for state support measures. Another 97 NGOs in the field of education received a direct subsidy for disinfection activities in the amount of more than 23 million rubles.

The federal centre and optimisation helped

After listening to the speakers' reports, the deputies moved on to questions. Ilshat Aminov, the deputy of the State Council of Tatarstan and director general of 'Tatarstan — Novy Vek', asked Aleksey Shishkin where the reserves for such an optimistic budget came from, if revenues to the Republican Treasury for 7 months decreased by almost 34 billion, or 20,5%, and the collection of income tax fell twofold? The deputy finance minister explained that the fall was observed only in March-May, and before that the budget was filled regularly. In the summer, the situation stabilised, and the authorities hope for a further increase in deductions.

“With income tax, the problem is not so much the pandemic, but that the elimination of benefits for the production of ultra-viscous oil is now being considered. It will be difficult to make a profit there. I deliberately drew your attention to that income tax is now coming to the fore. We are raising wages, and there will be a higher fill rate than for income tax. Plus, we received 13,6 billion rubles from the federal centre. These are not loans, but gratuitous financial assistance. On November 1, 33 billion will come. In Russia, we remain in the deepest decline, as we have an oil-producing region and our profit has fallen the most compared to last year. If this factor is taken into account, we will still get 5-7 billion out of 100 billion. That is, we will make up for the deficit that exists," Shishkin explained.

Ilshat Aminov asked Aleksey Shishkin where the reserves for such an optimistic budget came from, if revenues to the Republican Treasury for 7 months decreased by almost 34 billion

The official noted that thus the gap in the budget would be reduced from 34 to 20 billion rubles. Besides, they managed to save another 4 billion rubles due to cost optimisation. This includes saving on travel expenses amidst the pandemic, and reducing internal spending in ministries and departments, as well as the fact that civil servants' salaries were increased not by 4%, but only by 3%.

Marat Akhmetov, the deputy chairperson of the State Council of Tatarstan, who was present at the meeting, asked whether the methodology for forming the budget for 2021 was different from the previous ones and whether ministries and departments were involved in its preparation. Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Tatarstan Oleg Pelevin explained that nothing has changed conceptually, but when drafting the main document of the republic, the issue was worked out with all large enterprises and municipalities.

“We covered 80% of industrial enterprises, met with everyone, looked at their business plans, and smaller enterprises cover municipalities," he explained, adding that the forecast plan is formed by the interdepartmental commission, which includes representatives of ministries.

Lilia Mavrina noted that the time has come to form a separate programme for updating institutions of additional education

Attention to additional education institutions

The deputies didn't have any more questions to the speakers, but they had some suggestions. For example, including in the next year's budget the expenses for correcting violations in educational institutions identified by various regulatory authorities. We are talking about billions of dollars that accumulate from year to year.

Marat Akhmetov, as chairperson of the commission under the President of the Republic of Tatarstan on the preservation and development of the Tatar language, asked to analyse the effectiveness of programmes to support the second state language. At the moment, there are four of them — both state and industry ones. “But not with the expectation to cut them, if it was ineffective, the task is to effectively use this money in the future," Akhmetov stressed.

Secretary of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan Lilia Mavrina asked about the amount of funds allocated for the overhaul of additional education institutions. And, having received no response, she noted that it was time to form a separate programme to update this fund, “since these institutions are designed to educate our children, develop creativity, including through their appearance. In the meantime, neither the appearance, nor the interior, nor the equipment contribute to this," said Mavrina.

As a result, the deputies — members of the Committee on Education, Culture, Science and National Affairs unanimously supported the draft bill on the budget of the Republic of Tatarstan for 2021 and for the planning period of 2022 and 2023 in the first reading.

By Eleonora Rylova. Photo: