'The institute of IT ombudsman is going to appear for the first time in our country': Kazan Digital Week 2021 opens
At Kazan Digital Week, the prime minister of Russia promised support to high-tech companies, and at the exhibition they boasted of digital solutions
“The second package of support for IT industry, which was signed a week ago, is aimed at stimulating demand for domestic software solutions and software within the country," Maksut Shadayev, the minister of digital development, communications and mass communications of Russia, said at the plenary session of Kazan Digital Week 2021 International Forum on 21 September. Directives have already been issued for Russian state-owned companies, which oblige them to direct up to 70% of expenses to domestic software and hardware solutions until 2024. “We ourselves have tried several times to make these decisions (on the first package of tax benefits), but thanks to the new government they have been implemented," Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov said. However, the lack of specialists remains the bottleneck of the IT industry. To expand the personnel funnel, the president announced the opening of an IT quarter in the centre of Kazan, around the former Spartak building.
“Yesterday, students just didn't reach 112"
The large exhibition of digital achievements of the Tatarstan IT industry was timed to coincide with the first visit of Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Communications of Russia Maksut Shadaev to Kazan. The latest developments of about 50 companies offering modern solutions for the state, businesses and society were presented at the exhibition of the International Forum Kazan Digital Week 2021, which was held in the pavilion of Kazan Expo.
The founder and developer of the project called Rodina, Sergey Minasyan from St. Petersburg, who became a resident of the IT park in Kazan, developed an application for teachers in case of an emergency.
“The teacher can activate the alarm button in the application on the phone only in one case — if there is shooting at the school. In three seconds, information about the crime will be sent to the remote control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and armed special forces will go to the place to capture the criminal," he told the main guests of the forum, Maksut Shadayev and Rustam Minnikhanov.
Currently, negotiations are underway on the introduction of this system in schools of Tatarstan. The application began to be developed after the shooting on May 11 at a Kazan gymnasium, as a result of which nine people were killed. This application is expected to become more accessible than the 112 service.
“Yesterday, students just didn't reach 112 and the guard was killed first," Sergey Minasyan told reporters later. “If there was this system, then two traffic police officers would not have to solve the situation.”
We will remind, on 20 September, there was a shooting at the Perm State National Research University — a student shot six people.
“Do you know him? Do you meet him often?"
Avtodoria, a well-known developer in the field of intelligent transport systems in Kazan, showed a software solution for monitoring snow removal on the roads, and their competitor, the company Simicon from St. Petersburg, demonstrated the Kordon surveillance camera for traffic on the roads. The head of the traffic police of Tatarstan, Lenar Gabdurakhmanov, who separately approached this stand, closely studied the new development.
“These devices understand online how often you violate the rules of the road," he explained.
According to him, now they have a large set of functions: they can determine whether the car is stolen, whether the owner has paid fines, how often he commits violations, and whether he was caught driving drunk.
“From next year we will begin to understand whether a motorist uses a phone while driving," the head of the traffic police “intimidated”. “This will be a new feature that will help us to detect such violations more. Now it is one of the main ones. No, we don't want to scare you. Our goal is prevention," Lenar Gabdurakhmanov smiled.
Mishustin on tax benefits: “These were important decisions for businesses”
The plenary session of the Kazan Digital Week was devoted to the implementation of the national project Digital Economy, which is designed to create conditions for high-tech businesses, increase competitiveness and improve the quality of life. The first to address the participants of the forum was Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Mishustin via video link. First of all, he spoke about measures to support the industry, which is one of the priorities for the economy. He recalled that this year the government has approved the second package of solutions for the accelerated development of the IT industry. These are about 60 support measures in various areas designed to stimulate the introduction of domestic technologies for businesses, office software and operating systems, the development of educational and medical services.
According to him, thanks to the new package of measures, solutions in the field of artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of things, cloud storage will be more actively applied, additional tools will be developed to reduce the administrative burden on IT companies.
“For the first time in our country, the institute of the IT ombudsman is going to appear. This will help create favourable conditions for doing business in this area," the prime minister added.
It is also planned to introduce domestic engineering software for modelling and designing objects in industry, create conditions for attracting highly qualified IT specialists and returning to Russia those who have gone to work abroad.
The first package of measures was launched last year at the instruction of Russia's President Vladimir Putin. The tax maneuver for the IT sector, which is positioned as an indefinite measure, provides for a reduction in income tax from 20% to 3% (by zeroing the regional part of the tax), a reduction in insurance premiums to 7,6% (of which 6% are deducted to the Pension Fund).
“These were important decisions for businesses," said the prime minister of Russia. “The effect is impressive. Almost 7,000 as a result IT companies took advantage of benefits on insurance premiums, more than 1,000 organisations — preferences for income tax, about 3,000 received VAT benefits. They used the saved funds for their own development and the creation of new competitive solutions. In the companies that have benefited from such state support, the salary of employees is higher. The number of accredited Russian IT companies and the number of software products included in the register of domestic software has increased.”
Maksut Shadayev explained that the “second package” will solve another task — expanding the demand for domestic solutions. Among them is the obligation of state-owned companies to “buy Russian pruducts”.
“Directives have already been issued for Russian state-owned companies, which oblige them to direct up to 70% of expenses to domestic software and hardware solutions until 2024," he reported. And for private businesses, as the minister said, large tax benefits are provided. Besides, the regions are given the right to reduce the income tax rate. SMEs will receive separate support. A 50% subsidy is being worked out for them when introducing domestic digital solutions. “In this case, the costs will be reduced by 2 times," the minister said. It is also planned to subsidise up to 50% of the costs of buying domestic software.
However, the problem of personnel shortage still remains unresolved.
“We see how there is a struggle for developers, for architects, how quickly salaries are growing. In this sense, our task is to expand the personnel funnel, significantly strengthening the system of training specialists," Maksut Shadayev said.
He said that starting from next year programmes are being launched in which students, having passed a competitive selection, will have the opportunity to learn programming languages for free. The training will last 2 years.
“Once it was fashionable to study foreign languages, now it is important that the study of a modern programming language is available," he noted. By 2024, the admission to state-funded places will double. But here there is a problem of the quality of training of specialists. Since this year, Innopolis specialists have started rewriting programmes and training standards for universities.
IT quarter in the centre of Kazan, around former Spartak building
“We also stimulate the development of IT industry," the president of the Republic of Tatarstan continued the topic of industry benefits. “For residents of the IT park, the Simplified Taxation rate has been reduced to 1% with a base rate of 6%. This should attract new residents," Rustam Minnikhanov is sure.
On the other hand, the Tatarstan industry is already at the forefront. According to the head of the republic, there are about 3,000 companies, more than 40,000 specialists in it. Tatarstan occupies the first position in digitalisation among Russian regions. Rustam Minnikhanov reminded that in 2007, the republic was the first to introduce the Electronic Government platform. For feedback from the population, there is the system People's Control, which received 77,000 appeals last year.
Speaking about the development of IT parks, the president said that this year they have purchased another building in the centre of Kazan (we are talking about the building of the Spartak shoe factory). Next to it, there is the educational school No. 21, which will allow creating an IT quarter in the centre of Kazan. Besides, the construction of two new parks is beginning in Innopolis, which will give another 4,000 jobs.
“The emergence of new companies is associated with the adoption of important tax decisions. We have tried to make these decisions ourselves several times," the president noted. “And only thanks to the new government, they have been implemented.”