National news in brief

The implementation of the Balapan state programme will be extended until 2020, pursuant to a government resolution released on Jan. 9. Balapan was adopted in Kazakhstan in 2010 on the instruction of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Implementation of the programme, which sought to involve 70 percent of Kazakhstan’s children in preschool education, was expected to be completed in 2014. The extended programme will seek to enroll 100 percent of the nation’s children in preschool by 2020 as well as ensure that 100 percent of children aged 5-6 have preschool training and expand the network of preschool education institutions in the country. Programme financing for 2014-2020 will reach 190.5 billion tenge (US$1.2 billion). Over 41.2 billion tenge (US$266.9 million) is planned to be allocated from the national budget and 149.3 billion (US$966.1 million) from the local budget. The government resolution comes into effect on the day of its signing and is subject to mandatory promulgation.

In preparing for EXPO 2017, Astana will become a greener and more environmentally friendly city. About 40 percent of the capital’s territory is slated to be occupied by urban forests by 2017. “The territory of the city is 71,000 hectares. In November 2013, a project to plant urban forests in the city was initiated. It will be implemented as part of the general layout of the city. Urban forests and parks will be created within the project. Some of them already exist in and around the city. We plan to turn forests outside the city into urban forests and parks in the territory of Astana,” Head of the Department of Architecture and Town Planning of Astana Vitaly Siletsky said. According to Siletsky, green belts will run between seven main avenues of the city, reaching as far as the bank of the Yessil River. Planting parks and urban forests is the main trend in developing and amending the general layout of Astana.

Some service members of the armed forces of Kazakhstan and their families celebrated the new year in new apartments. On the threshold of the holiday, the Ministry of Defence provided the families of 16 servicemen in Ayagoz and 80 servicemen in Taldykorgan military reservations with housing. The Ministry of Defence pays close attention to the living conditions of officers and soldiers in cities and military reservations. In 2013, military men in different regions of the country were provided with housing. The ministry built houses and dormitories with a total floor area of 27,189 square metres and purchased 245 apartments with a total floor area of 14,653 square metres in order to provide servicemen with housing last year. Repairs were conducted on 113 apartments.

A group of scientists from Stepnogorsk have developed a project to introduce a biotechnology for breeding a virus-free, elite breed of planting potatoes. The idea of the group, headed by Candidate of Chemical Sciences Daniyar Balapanov, was among 350 projects recommended by foreign experts for implementation and financing. The grant competition is part of a larger project on commercialisation of technologies run by the Ministry of Education and Science and supported by the World Bank and the Government of Kazakhstan. The first batch of this new sort of potatoes will be grown next year, The authorities of Stepnogorsk also supported this project, allocating an area for its implementation. It is also relevant in terms of ensuring the food belt around the capital city,” the statement reads. Potato yields are a problem in Kazakhstan, where they are 2-3 times lower than in the West, primarily due to a lack of high-quality seeds. New biotechnological methods like this will promote the production of new potato strains in the Akmola region, rather than the import of other seeds.

The Baiterek Public Association of Children with Disabilities will be placed under the control of the akimat (administration) of Uralsk. Baiterek is one of a number of nongovernmental organisations actively functioning in the city. Akim (Mayor) of the city Altay Kulginov reported on the current state and problems existing in the organisation. Presently, there are 35 disabled children aged 1.5-18 years with serious congenital pathologies. They need daily care, speech and language therapy, developmental paediatricians, psychologists, exercise physiologists and massage therapists. “Our organisation participates in different projects every year. For example, last year, we were awarded a grant totalling 5.3 million tenge (about US$34,300) from the national budget and 2.5 million tenge (US$16,180) from the local budget,” Chair of Baiterek Meruert Sankayeva said. Having become familiar with the activities of the public association, Kulginov said that on the instruction of Regional Akim Nurlan Nogayev, the organisation will be placed under the auspices of the city akimat and the financing of the institution will be increased this year. The akimat presented an exercise and ping-pong kit to the organisation.

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