Address by H.E. President Islam Karimov at the grand meeting to the 17th anniversary celebration of Uzbekistan’s Constitution Day

Assalamu-Alaykum, dear compatriots!

Distinguished friends!

These days our people widely celebrate the Constitution Day as a national holiday among other special and glorious ones in the life of our state and society that laid the ground for our independence and defined the basis of our free and prosperous future.

On this occasion, let me congratulate you from the bottom of my heart, my dears – and in your person, our entire nation – on this great holiday and express my sincere wishes.

Dear compatriots!

Indeed, 17 years ago, namely December 8, 1992, we espoused the Basic Law of our life - the Constitution - which is commensurable with nothing in its essence and significance and it is a truly historic document. Thus, we completely rejected the old and obsolete regime and opened up the way and opportunities to build a new state and society.

From that very day our Basic Law has served as a solid gound to build a democratic state ruled by law, civil society, an economy based on free market relations, as well as for creating a prosperous life for our people and securing a dignified place on the international arena.

Today, as we critically assess the way passed through for over the last period, it is certainly natural to underscore the outcomes of reforms gradually and consistently carried out in the realm of state building, social and economic development secured thanks to laws and programs introduced in the first place in accordance with fundamental principles and norms of the Constitution.

As we witness the way the entire world recognizes the substantial accomplishments made by our country, we become convinced time and again in the aptness of the chosen path of independent development set by our Basic Law.

We all know that this year’s celebration of the Constitution Day is of special meaning and magnitude. It is conditioned by the fact that on December 27 there will take place general elections to the parliament and local representative bodies - Kengashes (councils).

With the objective of laudably holding these elections that is the significant political event in the life of our country, given full observance of requirements of the Constitution, laws on elections, international norms and standards, a large-scale and considerable work is being carried out for over the span of the last three months under the leadership and control of the Central Election Commission.

In this context, it should be noted that during the years of independence the electoral system that comprehensively meets the generally recognized standards and high democratic requirements, has been established in our country. In this regard, a solid normative and legal foundation has been established based on our Constitution and the electoral legislation.

It is notable that for over the last years and in particular the start of this year, amendments and new norms that meet modern requirements, international norms and aimed primarily at further liberalization and democratization of the electoral legislation, have been introduced to the electoral system of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

It will be no mistake should we state that uplifting the role and influence of political parties, extending the number of their authorized representatives, granting additional rights and powers to them during the process of elections, and in general, these opportunities that provide for the expansion of voters’ rights will make an immense contribution to perfecting the electoral system.

As part of several changes introduced to the electoral legislation, with a purpose to expand the scope of participation of citizens in the forthcoming elections, the number of seats in the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis [the national parliament] of the Republic of Uzbekistan has been increased from 120 to 150. As a result, a new principle has been introduced, momentously, in order to better protect the environment by using the natural resources rationally and ensuring the ecological security of population.

In line with this principle, 15 parliamentary seats have been allocated for deputies elected from the Ecology Movement of Uzbekistan.

Crucially, a special emphasis in the electoral legislation has been placed on consolidating the rights and powers of the Central Election Commission.

As it is stipulated in our laws, no one – above all, central and local bodies of state power – has the right to interfere in the process of preparing and holding the elections.

Such interference is strictly prohibited by the law and due measures are envisaged with regard to persons who choose to violate this norm and, if needed, call them to accountability.

Summing up the aforementioned, it should be noted that all the procedures being implemented for improving the electoral system in our country are aimed at, above all, holding the elections transparent, free and fair.

In a word, I believe that each and every person who lives in this land with pride and dignity understands and realizes well that the forthcoming elections are an important test and serious examination for all of us.

If we consider the upcoming elections from this very perspective, I would like us to realize that this examination primarily consists of the following criteria and requirements:

First, this process stands as a test that is to display the freedom of speech and freedom of choice in our life.

Second, this process implies more consolidation of the multiparty system in the political life of our country, appearance of political parties in the electoral stage with their own goals and programs of action, as well as the struggle with one another for the votes of the electorate.

Third, as a manifestation of the rule of law, this process is to demonstrate the creation of equal opportunities and conditions for all political parties and for each candidate participating in the elections – irrespective of their political views and convictions.

Fourth, it reveals the level and maturity of civil society in our country.

And finally, fifth, it will be no mistake if we say these elections will test the socio-political level and culture of our population, as well as their civil self-consciousness.

Let us expound on the following. To what extent are we ready to stand such a complex and responsible political test and hold these elections at the level of electoral systems effective at the moment in developed democratic states?

To be sure, it will be appropriate and particularly expedient should the answer for this question today be sought not only by the Central Election Commission and its structures at the local level that are directly responsible for organization of the elections, as well as the activists of political parties, public movements, non-government organizations, and wider public – but also by each citizen and each voter who is getting prepared for elections.

It is because the aforementioned extremely important factors that we need to implement reflect the maturity level of any society that goes along the path of democratic development.

I believe all of us realize yet more that to follow these requirements is not just a goal in itself, but it is primarily the core of the program on promoting freedom and liberty, as well as of building a prosperous life. It is also the decisive integral part and a principal way of securing a high level of development.

It should be said that we have chosen this path not for demonstrating or showing it off to someone else.

And no matter how tough and complicated this path – let me repeat it time and again – this path is one of progress that fully reflects our national interests, expectations and aspirations we have striven for centuries.

At the same time, all of us do realize yet another truth, namely, that we need to accomplish quite a lot to secure the set-out goals, address both political and economic responsibilities chosen by us, and secure a dignified place among the developed countries of the world.

The major issue in this respect is as follows: it is imperative that we critically assess the accomplished work without falling into euphoria, nor ignoring the international experience and achievements of others. We also need to remove the obstacles and barriers that still exist in our life in this direction. Remarkably, our own apprehension of this pressing truth and a willingness to draw practical conclusions constitute a substantial importance in our socio-political life.

Availing myself of this opportunity, with a purpose to hold the forthcoming elections – truly a substantial political event in the life of our country – in a commendable manner, I deem it expedient to explore some outstanding issues this time again.

First, I wish it became the major duty for all of us and every voter to observe and strictly abide by the Constitution and laws passed on its basis with regard to elections to Oliy Majlis and local representative bodies of state power, as well as the regulations and norms defined by the Central Election Commission and its structures at the local level.

It is essential that we treat the recommendations and views of observers – whether representatives of international organizations or our social and non-government organizations – with respect and great care. Any comments related to cases proved to be inconsistent with the generally accepted electoral rules must certainly be taken into consideration and implemented no matter how formal, insignificant and unnecessary they may seem for some voters.

It is vital that all participants of the elections, no matter who they are, realize clearly that outside interference in electoral processes as well as any improper attempts at exerting pressure on them shall be completely barred.

Second, one has to reiterate again that all are equal before the law. Creating equal and fair environment for all parties and their candidates in the election campaign in terms of meeting and communicating with their respective constituents by means of print and televised media, conducting campaigning among the constituency, treating their rights and aspirations equally, making no one inferior, one should say, – all these issues play an ample and key role in conducting the elections at the highest level.

Individual state agencies responsible for these matters must not allow for any cases of exceptions or preferences to anyone.

Third, elections, on top of all, imply a free choice and conscious voting with comprehension of one’s rights.

Along with this, to participate in elections means not least to materialize the right to cast a vote guaranteed by our Constitution. This requires, first and foremost, that we thoroughly realize our civic duty and treat the matter with considerable responsibility and hence each and every voter should have a plain idea about a candidate, whether they tomorrow become member of local Kengash (council) or the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis. They should have a clue as to whether a candidate who obtained a deputy’s mandate will be able to substantiate the great confidence placed on them and be able to contribute to the prosperity and improvement of the life of our people. That is, the electorate should not be misled while voting.

From this perspective, at the moment we are indeed on the eve of a major political process that is going to define the future of our Motherland. No doubt shall this process that becomes a peculiar central stage in achieving the set-out lofty goals and objectives, directly engage each and every person living on this soil; nor should anyone stay aloof.

Today, looking at your faces, my dears present in this hall, and in your person, I would like to address our entire nation: we are certainly capable of conducting the forthcoming elections in a praiseworthy manner and are able to demonstrate one more time our advanced political level to the international community. Since our Uzbekistan, our society is no longer the one it used to be in the past: the two are as far away from one another as heaven and earth, figuratively speaking.

Significantly, it is impossible today not to see, not to notice and not to comprehend that the worldview of our people, their way of thinking and range of outlook, the attitude toward life and work, feeling of attachment to events unfolding around them, is changing from day to day as is pride with Motherland and their belief in the future.

I am confident that our experienced people who treat the fate of the nation with responsibility, by thoroughly realizing how important this political process is, will actively participate in the elections and cast their votes for realization of their noble dreams and aspirations and those of their families, as well as for peace and progress in our land.

I have no doubt about this.

Dear friends!

As you know, a year ago, acting on your advice we announced the year 2009 in our country as the Year of Rural Development and Improvement.

You are also aware that on this ground we elaborated a special State program with the aim of addressing the priority issue in the focus of our attention since the early years of independence, that is, to change the image of our villages, deepen reforms in the agricultural industry, improve the living standards of the rural population, as well as increase their socio-political and cultural level.

The essence and significance, preeminent dimensions and financial sources of this Program that embodies the idea that “progress in the countryside provides for prosperity of the nation and further improvement of our life”, have been defined not only for the year 2009, but also for medium and long-term prospects, with its implementation under strict control.

Given the extensive scope of this Program, I would like to only briefly discuss the initial steps taken on the way of its implementation.

When we speak about this, it should be mentioned first of all that we have paid a special attention to fuller ensuring the interests of people in the countryside, as well as to issues of perfecting the normative and legal basis aimed at protecting their rights.

It would not be a mistake when I say that in the process of improving life in villages it is particularly important that we change their appearance, uphold the living standards of people residing in villages to modern level and, when necessary, put those standards on the same footing as urban ones.

To achieve these goals, we issued a number of resolutions of the President of Uzbekistan in January 2009 to plan housing from the perspective of modern architecture, advance the system of designing and building houses and social facilities in rural areas, and establish the Qishloq Qurilish Loyiha [Rural Contsruction Project] Institute.

It should be mentioned that by now this Institute has developed sample designs of modern dwelling houses consisting of 2 to 5 rooms as well as facilities of social infrastructure.

The renowned and highly qualified specialists of our country have been involved in this work. 22 sample designs of individual dwellings and 16 samples of facilities of social and municipal purpose have been approved and recommended for construction.

The Qishloq Qurilish Invest engineering company established to accomplish preparatory and construction work related to implementing these projects, started its work in the capital city as well as regions.

These designs were demonstrated to our wider public at an exhibition at Uzexpocenter in September this year. Similar exhibitions keenly welcomed by our people have been organized also in regional centers.

With a view to attracting substantial amounts of funds for implementing these projects, a joint-stock commercial Qishloq Qurilish [Rural Construction] Bank was established whose services have grown pretty popular among people by now.

It should be pointed out that this year alone, 60 billion soums was allocated through this bank to launch construction works in rural areas.

And next year it is envisaged in addition to assign nearly 530 billion soums for these purposes. More than 256 billion soums of this amount will be billed by the state.

To bring about such large-scale works, 670 specialized construction and repair enterprises have been established in the country that are staffed with highly qualified and experienced cadres.

On the basis of such comprehensively and thoroughly elaborated plan, this year 42 estates have been allocated in rural areas in the Republic of Karakalpakstan and regions of the country with 840 individual private dwellings constructed experimentally. They are due in March-April 2010.

It should be mentioned that this experimental housing shall allow us to test in practice the sample designs and, following a comprehensive study of recommendations and wishes of their residents, to arrive at corresponding conclusions in order to fulfill them.

The funds of future owners are also being used in building these houses. What is important, the critical part of expenditures will be covered by long-term soft loans to be allocated by Qishloq Qurilish Bank.

These particular conditions – namely, an order characterized not by an immediate repayment of expenditures cast for those housings but by a gradual and step-by-step procedure that spans for a 15-year period, – grant significant benefits to our people.

In 2010, the work in this direction will take yet a wider scope, and 7,630 new homes will be constructed in all 159 rural districts of our country. We expect to commission them in August-September next year.

It is worth noting in particular that building not only houses modern and comfortable, but also kindergartens, general education and music schools, sports facilities, medical clinics, public service facilities, convenient roads – in a word, construction of complex modern residential areas that would include all necessary conditions for a dignified and happy life of villagers, have been plainly envisaged in our plans.

For over the last period considerable efforts have been directed at expanding the production of construction materials, one of the central issues in this direction.

When we speak about this, it should be noted that 31 enterprises have been created to manufacture building materials, including six companies with annual production capacity of 2 million square meters of modern roofing materials, new firms to produce gypsum, gypsum plasterboard, alabaster and other building materials as well as precast structures.

Among them 12 new brick factories got erected with total annual capacity of 81 million bricks.

It ought to be underscored that these newly established enterprises have been granted significant benefits and appropriate conditions to lower the prices for the products they manufacture, including bricks.

As far as development of rural infrastructure is concerned, one should note that nearly 100 billion soums was spent to address one of the most pressing issues in this sphere – construction of new and improvement of existing roads and highways. With an eye to improving transport services, new routes have been commissioned to be operated by modern buses manufactured in Samarkand.

In order to provide for an uninterrupted and guaranteed supply of energy resources to villages throughout the year, more than 16 billion soums was allocated to reconstruct or execute capital repair of power lines with over 2,700 kilometers, as well as natural gas pipelines of more than 300 kilometers.

Dear friends!

I believe you are well aware of the activities directed at extending the reforms in agriculture, consolidating the material and technical sources of this sector and, what is rather important, improving the efficiency of farming which is turning into a decisive power on the way of developing agriculture and providing for the prosperity of our country.

When discussing this topic, it is natural to cite the enormous accomplishments in improving the fertility of soil and land reclamation fulfilled in the framework of the Program for the Year of Rural Development and Improvement.

In particular, funds in the amount of 81 billion soums have been allocated to repairing and reconstructing the reclamation networks and irrigation systems: more than 10 thousand kilometers of manifolds, nearly 1,000 kilometers of drainage networks, and numerous hydro-technical facilities have been renovated, construction of 50 kilometer-long canals and other sites has been completed.

Should we take into account the extremely strenuous and arduous labor by the hundreds of thousands of peasants and machine operators and their selfless service and, crucially, the additional yield to our harvest, and should we imagine all these works and what lies behind these statistics, I am confident those people who performed this sort of – let me repeat – tremendously hard work deserve to be honored.

With feeling of gratitude should one note that in implementing major projects in this direction, investments of the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, as well as the financial institutions of the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea and a number of Arab countries, have played an important role.

Speaking about accomplishments during the current year, I would like to give a broader picture about the services, which are further developing in the rural areas.

It is well known that alongside with traditional services the new type of services such as telecommunication systems, in particular, the Internet, cellular phone connection and wide range of computer services are now actively developing in our villages.

The fact that a number of mobile phone users in rural areas touched 5 million, which makes up 30 percent of the total number of users in the country, testifies for the progress achieved in this sector. However, this number has been rapidly growing.

3,000 new stations based on new technologies have been established in rural areas to accept fast payments for public services.

The fact that this year 4,200 rural secondary schools, I repeat, only schools located in rural areas were connected to the Internet, speaks about the serious work we have accomplished in this sphere.

Dear friends, was it possible five or six years ago to imagine that using such communication services people, who reside in remote villages – be that a farmer or entrepreneur, craftsman or a teacher – would be able to connect with any part of the world, make remittances and fulfill other operations.

Above all, these kinds of services not only meet the demands of our people, but allow to provide employment to thousands of our children, who acquired modern knowledge and professions in rural lyceums and colleges, enjoy the opportunity to obtain such modern jobs. Doesn’t it determine the future and prospects of the youth, who are just stepping into a mature life?

This year alone in districts and villages 460 thousand jobs were established, including nearly 380 thousand new jobs were created thanks to development of the services sector. And we are pleased with the fact that mainly the youth are employed there.

Speaking of raising the culture and quality of life in the countryside, it is natural that we must constantly think about addressing one more important issue.

It is an issue, which is inseparably and directly connected to protecting our invaluable asset – health of a human, protection of maternity and childhood, nurturing a healthy generation, strengthening material and technical bases of medical facilities, raising the medical culture of people.

One can mention as an example the following: equipping of all district central hospitals with medical tools, providing 44 “UAZ” type ambulance coaches, 280 specialized “Damas” type ambulance cars worth 12 million US dollars; and supplying the rural medical stations with medical laboratory worth 1 million dollars.

Most importantly, within a year 3 million 750 thousand rural residents underwent a qualified physical examination, more than 22 thousand pregnant women have been examined at screening centers, 400 thousand patients have been treated and improved their health at the clinics.

Dear friends!

I believe it is relevant to dwell on one more priority direction of the State program of the “Year of Development and Improvement of Countryside”.

Today we deservedly can be proud of those enormous results achieved along the implementation of wide-scope reforms in the sphere of training and education, which have indeed historical significance and win a high appraisal of the world community.

Indeed, the National Program for Training of Cadres, which started 12 years ago and its integral part - the State program for development of school education issued in 2004 made a turning point in our social life.

Not many people could imagine the real scopes of such enormous tasks and objectives as construction and reconstruction of thousands of lyceums, colleges and schools, their equipment on the basis of the highest requirements carried out in the framework of these programs.

Today with pleasure one should note that regardless of all hardships we have steadfastly implemented these programs and in line with the sample designs and single criteria we have managed to erect modern educational facilities not only in the cities, but in remote villages and auls.

Today, with time passing by, we all realize what a solid foundation these two programs have laid. They have created worthwhile conditions for the rural youth so that they have as all of our young people the opportunities to grasp modern knowledge and professions, enroll and study at higher educational institution of the country.

For over the last period more than 1 million 446 thousand of our children have graduated from lyceums and colleges, including more than 1 million 55 thousand from the countryside. Today they are employed in the sphere of manufacturing, agriculture, governing and social sphere, in all sectors, and this is our most important achievement on this way.

Let us recall in what condition our schools and in general the educational facilities used to be ten or fifteen years back.

At that time not many could imagine that our schools would be armed with state-of-the-art educational-laboratory equipment, computer electronics, manuals and workbooks, would have sports infrastructure and wide access to Internet.

The fact that during this year the work on this direction has been raised to a new level, 1,957 schools have been built or reconstructed all over the country, of which 1,622 are located in the countryside, deserves a special attention.

Also, one should note that in 2009, 214 academic lyceums and professional colleges were erected, including 170 built and reconstructed in rural areas.

895 billion soums has been spent for construction, capital reconstruction and current maintenance of those educational facilities in the countryside, which is an unprecedented event in the history of our country.

Dear friends, when I travel across the regions and meet people, farmers and dekhkans we talk about the changes in rural life, about cotton and grain. It is of course necessary.

But at these meetings both young and elderly people note, above all, that the schools, lyceums and colleges erected in their villages or districts drastically changed the rural life.

It is quite natural that our fellow countrymen speak of this with special emotions and inspiration, since it is peculiar to our people to live not only with their own interests but for the sake of their children, their future and happiness.

From this point of view, these significant results and achievements do confirm how timely and prudent were our big far-sighted programs in the sphere of education and training, which are becoming an integral part of our path of development, to be more precise, its firm foundation.

Speaking about this one should underscore that the program of the “Year of Development and Improvement of Countryside”, whose practical embodiment started this year with its deep essence and objectives is uninterruptedly and directly connected to the aforementioned programs.

Most importantly, these programs complement one another, bear a foundation for each other, stand as a logical continuation of each other and thereby make an invaluable contribution to further development of our country and society.

In this context, the Program of the “Year of Development and Improvement of Countryside” with its scope, significance and content is aimed at not only development of material aspects of our present and future, but also at raising our cultural and spiritual level, in a word, will improve our entire life and, undoubtedly, secure its deserving place in the history of our country.

As a confirmation of the aforesaid I would like to draw your attention to the following fact which speaks for itself: this year alone more than 2 trillion 612 billion soums from all sources were channeled for implementing this program.

Inshallah, I am confident that in 2010 the amount of funds allocated for these purposes will not be less than in 2009.

Taking this opportunity, allow me on my own behalf, on behalf of our people to express a sincere gratitude to the state and non-state organizations of our country, farmers and entrepreneurs, foreign states and funds, international structures, ambassadors and representatives of foreign countries present in this hall, to all, who have selflessly contributed to this great, large-scale and noble cause.

Dear compatriots!

I think now it would be expedient to consult with you on how to name the forthcoming year 2010, and in other words, to concretely determine the most important and priority tasks that meet the kind aspirations of our people.

Thinking about this, firstly we should take into consideration the prospects and tasks immediately relating to further development of our state and society, which are of an ultimate significance in implementing our large-scale goals.

Identifying the name of each new year, we envisage mobilization of forces and resources of all state and non-state organizations, economic entities and enterprises, commercial structures of our country in terms of implementing the set concrete tasks.

If we are to clearly realize the essence and significance of this task, the importance of which is consonant with the dreams and intentions of our people, I believe it will become obvious to what extent this issue is so important and not easy at a time.

Having thought much on this topic, exchanged views, taken into account the proposals and views of many people, I propose to announce the forthcoming year 2010 as the “Year of harmoniously developed generation”.

I think it is not difficult to explain the reasons why we may give the new year such a slogan.

Above all, what is in the core of all noble aspirations of our people, our state and each of us, whatever goals we would put forward, whatever great deeds we would accomplish?

Naturally, we all respond to this question that on the focus of our aspirations there lays a dream to bring up our children physically and spiritually healthy, being inferior in nothing and to no one, see their happiness and prosperous future.

Indeed, isn’t it the essence of our life?

Undoubtedly, we all understand well that only the comprehensively developed generation stands today as a main condition of achieving the set substantial goals, addressing the challenges of time, overcoming the tough and difficult trials.

Let us elaborate on this issue in more detail.

Could we preserve peace and stability in the country, ensure the stable growth rates of economy and given the difficult conditions of the global financial-economic crisis secure the continuous elevation of people’s living standards had we not thought on time about the future and not create the necessary conditions for the youth to acquire the deep knowledge and modern professions?

Certainly not.

One indisputable truth is obvious for all of us, i.e. whatever well- elaborated programs on development of the country we work out, whatever logistical basis and opportunities we create and whatever means we invest to achieve, yet there is an extremely important factor, which shall pave the way to implement everything planned and achieve the set goals, and this is the highly qualified workforce, young specialists capable to take on a responsibility for the future and further development of the country.

This extremely important task must always stand as priority for our state and society.

There is no need to speak that on the occasion of announcing 2010 as the “Year of harmoniously developed generation”, taking into consideration the experience of the previous years we shall elaborate and implement the State program.

The interested agencies, state and non-state organizations, khokimiyats (governor’s office) at the local levels, relevant specialists and broad public shall be involved to its elaboration.

Taking this opportunity, among the number of directions of this program and major events subject for implementation I deem it necessary to touch on the most important issues and tasks.

Above all, we should critically analyze the available normative and legal basis, introduce the relevant alterations and addenda to it in line with modern requirements, if necessary to work out the new legal norms consonant with achieving the set goals and have them approved by Oliy Majlis.

Certainly, a healthy generation first and foremost means the healthy progeny. For over the last years in this direction based on the “Healthy mother, healthy child” program the large-scale measures were worked out and implemented.

It is widely known how much efforts and means have been invested to the cause of protecting the health of motherhood and childhood, including the construction in the capital city and provinces of diagnostic, screening and perinatal centers supplied with modern medical equipment, as well as the new maternity complexes.

At the same time, the new tasks are emerging in terms of preventing a number of diseases that pose danger for the people’s health, strengthening the material and technical basis of medical establishments, and stimulating the work of medical personnel.

In this regard, taking into account the extensive tasks to be accomplished, we envisage to allocate nearly 1 trillion 700 billion soums in the State budget of 2010 for financing healthcare, that is to increase the funds to be channeled to this sphere as compared to this year by 30 percent.

It should be underscored that in the new year 2010, almost 50 percent of the State budget shall be channeled to the development of the spheres of education and healthcare alone.

When we speak about harmoniously developed generation, I think it is obvious for all of us that it is important to concentrate on the issue of reasonable and effective utilization of the material and technical basis, created at the expense of substantial efforts and means in the sphere of education for over the last years.

It is necessary to improve the state educational standards, curricula and academic literature, reconsider the educational directions and specialties in the system of the higher and secondary special education from the standpoint of modern requirements.

We should also keep on the focus of our attention the issues of active introduction of new information and pedagogical technologies, stimulating the difficult work of teachers and instructors, who bring up the children as harmoniously developed persons. In a word, it is necessary to take the system of education and upbringing up to a qualitatively new level.

I want to repeat once again that we all must deeply realize to what extent it is really significant to create yet broader basis to introduce and assimilate (not only at schools, lyceums, colleges and higher educational institutions, but also in the life of each family) the latest information and computer technologies, digital and broadband telecommunications and Internet, which now in general determine the level of development of the country and society.

The forthcoming program must broadly reflect the issues of consistent continuing the substantial work that we have started in the sphere of physical training and sport, in particular, further developing the children’s sport, erecting modern sport grounds, facilities and complexes in each town and village supplied with necessary sport inventory, where children shall be trained by highly qualified trainers and instructors.

At the same time, the principally important issue must secure its worthy place in the program: that is, extensive employment of graduates of professional colleges and higher educational institutions in the sphere of small business and private entrepreneurship with an aim of practical application of modern knowledge and skills acquired by them.

In this, we must keep in mind the fact that today more than 70 percent of the country’s socially active population is engaged in the sphere of small business and entrepreneurship and without further developing this sphere we cannot see future development of the national economy.

This particular sphere of activity now serves as a main source of income for the enormous part of our population, the small business and entrepreneurship, as much as in all of the developed countries of the world, is an important component part of the middle class being established in Uzbekistan – the basis and buttress of socio-political life of the country.

Taking into consideration all these extremely important factors, all of us, and firstly, officials at local levels must understand that a special place must be secured in the forthcoming program to addressing the acute problems of developing small business and entrepreneurship, removing all barriers along this road and creating in all provinces, especially in the countryside area, the necessary conditions to attract the youth to this sphere, rendering relevant benefits and preferences in this regard.

I consider it appropriate to draw your attention yet to another important issue. When speaking about the modern progress, one cannot imagine it without developing science.

Today, thinking about the future of our country and with an aim of developing the most advanced, perspective scientific research and exploration work, which are on the focus of attention of scientific community of the developed countries, it is necessary to establish the new laboratories in the system of Academy of Sciences and higher educational institutions, and ensure their effective cooperation with leading foreign scientific centers.

The time itself requires that this issue needs to be considered as one of the most urgent priorities.

With an aim of supporting the work in this direction, procuring the latest scientific equipment and installations from abroad, attracting and stimulating the most gifted and talented youth to this cause it is expedient to establish a special fund at the Committee for coordination of development of science and technology and provide it with necessary currency resources.

I think that those present in this hall will support this proposal.

The measures on rendering a special attention to family and protecting it, which is most important, I would say, a decisive part of society in upbringing the physically healthy and harmoniously developed generation must also become an integral component of the program.

There is an Uzbek proverb: “The child does what he is taught in the family”. It has a very deep meaning.

I think that we all understand well that upbringing, making our sons and daughters dignified representatives of their nation, who will tomorrow become the true citizens of the country, take place in the bosom of family, in a healthy family atmosphere, which is notable for the love and respect of parents to one another.

From this it can be drawn a conclusion that the issues of a healthy and solid family, firstly, the young families, must be considered as priority issues, which remain on the focus of attention of mahalla (neighborhood community), society and state as a whole.

Enriching the spiritual world of our children, upbringing them in the spirit of national and universal values remain the most urgent task for us.

Especially, at this complex and restless time, when various attacks are ever gaining strength aimed against national identity, centuries-old values of our people, and mercenary aspirations are being manifested to secure the minds and souls of our youth, and certainly, all these impel us to greater vigilance.

Therefore, the problems of promoting among the youth the principles of healthy lifestyle, shielding them from drug addiction, immorality, various pernicious influences and threats that penetrate from outside under the guise of “mass culture” must remain on the focus of our constant attention. Such issues must surely be reflected in the program.

Dear compatriots!

Today it is not a secret for anyone that the 21st century is one of prevalence of intellectual power.

And if someone did not realize this truth on time, and the aspiration towards intellectual knowledge, intellectual wealth did not turn into the essence of daily life for the nation and state, then this state will inevitably find itself in the backwards of the world civilization.

The state and society, which has deeply realized this axiom and come to such a conclusion and which aspires to secure a worthy place in the world community, consider it the most important and most sacred task that the young men and women enter the mature life as comprehensively and harmoniously developed individuals.

Today, when the international community acknowledges our successes and sustainable results on the way of building a democratic state, civil society, modern system of economy, securing a worthy niche in the world, the following question emerges naturally: what these achievements are based on?

The reason for this lays, above all, in the rich history, cultural and spiritual heritage of our people, deep intellectual potential and roots, as well as the ability of our nation to secure great accomplishments on the way of achieving the set high goals.

The reason for this is the fact that we have never been inferior to anyone in anything, and undoubtedly, shall be second to none in securing our cherished goal – to build a free, independent and prosperous life, inshallah.

It gives me an enormous pleasure - standing from this high rostrum - to express once again to you and in your person to the entire nation of Uzbekistan my deep respect and appreciation as well as the kindest and sincerest wishes.

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Today: 25.09.2020
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