STEADFAST CONTINUATION ON MODERNIZATION OF COUNTRY AS A DECISIVE FACTOR IN OUR PROGRESS
07.12.2010

Address by President Islam Karimov at the ceremonial meeting occasioned to the 18th anniversary of Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Dear compatriots!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

These days our nation cheerfully marks the 18th anniversary of the Basic Law – the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Celebrating this truly historical date in the life of our state and our people, we give due tribute to the everlasting role and significance that the Constitution of the country has played in the formation of a modern Uzbekistan, in achieving the goal that we have set fr om the early days of our independence, the goal of building a democratic constitutional state with a socially oriented economy, and establishing a civil society where the human beings, their interests, rights and freedoms are the most supreme value.

Today, if we objectively assess and summarize the outcomes of Uzbekistan’s independent development, it is doubtless all the achieved goals and objectives recognized by the world community that our country secured for over the past years - i.e. both steadily functioning economy, its sustainable growth rates, the year-to-year augmentation in the wellbeing of the population and our strengthening authority in the international community - all of these, first of all, are the result of implementing the profoundly well-thought-out objectives, principles and norms enshrined in the Constitution.

Shortly speaking, the life itself compellingly confirms the correctness of our nation’s development mold – known as the “Uzbek model” – that was defined and enshrined in our Constitution.

The farther we have moved away fr om the obsolete totalitarian, centralized, command, planning and distributive system, the deeper we have been convinced of the correctness of principles and norms on which our model is built.

This is, first of all, a complete de-indoctrination of our life, denunciation of communist dogmas, rule of law, ensuring that the government retains the role of a principal reformer, the choice of not a revolutionary, but an evolutionary path characterized by a phased and gradual nature of reforms carried out in line with the principle “do not destroy the old house unless you build a new one”, as well as a robust social policy.

Guided by these principles, we have indeed achieved a lot for over the past period and can rightly take pride in this. 
In my view, we have accomplished the key objective, i.e. the process of reforms and democratization of the country has become irreversible and progressive in effect.

The people, their social consciousness and their attitude to life, are changing. Their political maturity and civic responsibility for what is taking place in the country and the wider world has grown.

And all of this serves now as a powerful moving force that secures advancement of the country along the path of progress and prosperity.

Along with this, while paying a due tribute to what was accomplished, we barely have the right to forget that life is always on the move.

Objectively and critically assessing the path and the place of our country in the radical changes taking place in the world, we must not flatter ourselves with what was achieved and must not succumb to the feeling of euphoria and complacency.

In a century of globalization and increasing competition, in which we live now, only as a result of persistent and determined progression ahead on the way of cardinal reforms and modernization can we achieve the prospective goal that we have laid down for ourselves, i.e. to join the ranks of developed democratic and flourishing nations, provide our people with worthy living standards.

It is these particular tasks that are defined in the “Concept of deepening the democratic reforms and establishing civil society in the country”, enunciated during the joint session of both houses of our Parliament on November 12 this year.

The following must become our principal priorities: 
- to continue the constitutional reforms aimed at further democratization of state power and governance, continue the reforms on consolidating independence and liberalization of judicial system; 
- the guarantees of the human and citizen rights in the information sphere, ensuring freedom of choice and improving the electoral legislation; 
- further expansion and strengthening of rights and authorities of the non-state non-profit organizations, public structures and citizens’ self-governance bodies, in particular, mahalla, which are set to become in practice the most important factors of protection of democratic values and lawful interests of people, as well as establishment of a civil society.

Only by keeping with wide-scale economic reforms and transformation in accordance with completely reasonable model that we chose can we ensure the sustainability and necessary pace of economic development, to raise our living standards and secure our worthy place in the world community.

It goes without saying that it is necessary to realize that we are setting before us such most complex and considerable tasks for implementation of which it will take many years.

Now I won’t dwell in detail on the concrete directions envisaged by the Concept of further reforming and modernizing the country.

All of these issues are now being covered by the mass media rather in detail and they are the subject of discussion not only in our country, but also abroad.

At the same time, I would like to underscore that the most complex and responsible task is not about elaborating the Concept itself, but drafting and gradually implementing the Complex program, - speaking in other words, the strategy of implementing the target objectives set in the Concept on further deepening and expanding the launched reforms to democratize and modernize the country and pursue the high development goals which we have set before us.

Speaking about this, I consider it necessary to pay attention to the following major principles which our work must be based on:

First. We must observe continuity, gradualness and consistency, speaking otherwise, the evolutionary nature of ongoing reforms, bearing in mind, that they should serve as a logical and natural continuation of the chosen course of building a democratic and law-governed state with a strong civil society.

Second. It is necessary to clearly understand that the directions of reforms proposed in the Concept are closely interlinked and interdependent.

One cannot ensure the market reforms and liberalization of economy without consistent democratization of social order and state system, providing for independent judiciary. It is equally related to the issues of ensuring freedom of speech and information, freedom of choice and developing the electoral system, establishing the civil society institutions, raising the political awareness, social and economic activeness and legal culture of our citizens.

Third. The success of further reforming and modernizing the country can be ensured only then, when the reforms become accessible and comprehensible for each consciously thinking person, and if the reforms become business of each citizen and each person living in our soil.

I set the biggest hopes and thoughts on you, my compatriots present in this hall, and above all, on the youth and in their person on the many-million forthcoming generation, who now enters our life as the decisive creative force whom the future of the country belongs to.

I firmly believe that our children – our pride and buttress – shall be worthy of the hopes, which we pin on them.

Dear friends!

A year ago at the grand meeting, dedicated to the Constitution Day, together with you we adopted decision to announce 2010 in our country as the “Year of harmoniously developed generation”.

Putting forward this exclusively important task for the present and especially for the future of our state and society, we proceeded, first of all, fr om the indisputable truth that the 21st century, in which we live, is the century when the intellectual values, the high level of knowledge and education dominate and are in demand.

Today there is no need to speak a lot about the fact that the most decisive factor of our progression ahead and ensuring realization of our most cherished dreams is a human capital, the forthcoming generation of young people with contemporary knowledge and in-demand professions capable to take on a responsibility for the future of the country.

It goes without saying that elaborating the program of harmonious development of upcoming generation we clearly realize that it is impossible to tackle this task of utmost importance for over the short period.

This goal must turn into a subject of daily concern and priority attention of the state and our entire society for a long-term perspective.

Naturally, the implementation of this extraordinarily large-scale program cannot be covered in the framework of one speech. This issue shall be discussed in detail at the sessions dedicated to the outcomes of the year, which will be held at the local levels and the center. Allow me to briefly dwell on the most important aspects of implementation of main directions of the Program “Year of harmoniously developed generation” in 2010.

Above all, a special attention was paid to the issues of further improving the normative and legal basis directed to protecting the rights and interests of children and youth, strengthening the legal foundations of their harmonious development.

Proceeding fr om the requirements of time, a thorough inventory of more than 600 normative and legal acts was made, on the outcomes of which the relevant amendments and additions have been introduced to the legislative and normative acts currently in force. They include: the introduction of additions to the Code on administrative responsibility that reinforce the responsibility of managers of entertainment institutions and other officials in terms of observing the set norms and strengthening the law and order that rule out drawing minors into criminogenic situation.

The Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis adopted in the first reading the Law “On information and library activity” aimed at providing the information and library, and above all, Internet services, firstly, to pupils and students based on the latest information technologies.

The adoption of the Law “On preventing neglect and delinquencies among minors” has a profound importance. It is necessary to underscore that adoption very soon of the Law “On limiting distribution and consumption of alcohol and tobacco products” shall become an important factor of fostering a healthy generation and guarding it fr om bad habits that undermine their health in the early age.

The draft of new wording of the Law “On physical culture and sports” aimed at further reforming the sphere of physical culture and sports and improving the system of training specialists in this sphere is also an important document elaborated in the framework of the Program.

Naturally, when we speak about healthy generation, first and foremost, we mean fostering a healthy progeny. For over the past years the large-scale measures have been worked out and implemented in this direction based on the program “A healthy mother – a healthy child”.

Everyone is aware how much effort and funds have been put to protection of motherhood and childhood, including the construction in the capital city and the regions of diagnostic, screening and perinatal centers, new maternity complexes supplied with modern medical equipment.

In the framework of the State program “Screening of mother and child”, the screening centers were established in the cities of Gulistan and Jizzakh, alongside with those in other areas in Uzbekistan. All regional centers are supplied at the expense of budget with modern diagnostic and laboratory equipment and consumable materials. This has permitted to take to a higher level the prophylaxis and treatment of a broad range of hereditary diseases and decrease the degree of risk of birth of children with hereditary diseases and congenital growth diseases.

In all regions of the country practically the entire population is provided with medical examination and ultrasound check-up at the countryside medical stations and specialized centers supplied with modern equipment. The “Health improvement week for fertile-age women, children and teenage girls” is held monthly. This year alone more than 7 million 800 thousand women and 8 million 500 thousand children at the age of up to 14 years went through medical examination.

This year more than 12 thousand visiting nurses, over 8 thousand pediatricians, neonatalogists (baby doctors), midwives and nurses raised their qualification and went through training with introduction of new technologies in rendering medical services to women and children.

It is hard to find analogues to preventive measures being adopted in Uzbekistan on protection of population’s reproductive health directed to strengthening health of pregnant women through providing them with special polyvitamin complexes that contain the necessary spectrum of vitally important elements. Such measures allow to annually improve health of 400 thousand pregnant women, promote stronger health of mothers and prevent birth of children with congenital growth diseases.

The enormous work is being carried out to prevent a number of diseases deemed dangerous for people’s life. Today in all regions of the country more than 98 percent of children are vaccinated against controllable infections. As a result, the number of cases of diphtheria and measles has sharply decreased. The number of cases of infectious diseases decreased in 2010, including cerebrospinal infection – by 28 percent, epidemic parotiditis – by 27 percent and viral hepatitis – by 13 percent. 
In the course of yet another large-scale measure carried out in the country - the National days of immunization against polio – 4 million children at the age of up to 15 years have been vaccinated. This has permitted to prevent falling ill with polio in the conditions, when unfavorable situation unfolded in the neighboring countries.

According to a number of respected international institutions, Uzbekistan occupies one of the leading places among 125 countries of the world on the level of favorable conditions created for women and protection of motherhood.

The UNICEF Regional Office for Eastern Europe, Baltics and CIS recognized Uzbekistan to be the regional model on introducing programs in the area of protection of motherhood and childhood.

More than 1 trillion 700 billion soums was allocated from the State budget to finance the protection of motherhood and childhood, prevent various diseases and as a whole to develop the system of healthcare. This means it is by 30 percent more than it was allocated in 2009 and as more as twice in comparison with the year 2008.

A special attention in implementation of the State program “Year of harmoniously developed generation” was paid to the development of the sphere of education, and above all, reinforcement of its logistical and technical basis, new construction and provision of educational institutions with modern equipment.

As a result of implementing the National program of cadres training and the State nationwide Program of developing the school education we have built or thoroughly reconstructed in line with modern designs 1536 academic lyceums and professional colleges, about 9 thousand, or practically all general education schools and more than 1800 sports halls.

With an aim of constantly renovating the logistical and technical basis of these educational facilities, undertaking on systematic basis their re-equipment with the state-of-the-art computer technology, educational laboratory equipment, furniture and study inventory, maintaining their up-to-date operation, as well as effectively utilizing the existing enormous potential we have established a completely new structure – the special fund at the Ministry of Finance.

In 2010, 315 billion soums were deposited to the bank account of this fund and in 2011 it is envisaged to allocate 370 billion soums. And this fact witnesses about enormous attention paid in our country to this issue.

I would like to especially note the significance for us of the opening this year in Tashkent of the new and modern education complex of the Turin Polytechnic University, which is set to become a source of the highly qualified cadres for dynamically developing domestic automobile industry and several other branches.

For over this period we have optimized the system of cadres’ training, unified 50 directions of bachelor’s education and 74 master’s specialty, as well as introduced the new classifiers of directions and majors of secondary special, professional and higher education.

In the framework of the Program, in 2010, 560 leading cluster schools were provided with 13500 computers worth about 6 million US dollars, over 750 rural schools were supplied with modern educational laboratory equipment and multimedia tools, the teachers of 1.5 thousand rural schools were supplied with 3400 personal computers worth in total about 13 million dollars.

At the moment, all educational, scientific and cultural-enlightenment facilities of the country – and they are more than 12 thousand – are connected to Educational portal, which contains over 25 thousand study materials and resources. This permits to actively introduce the methods of distance education into the education system as well as a broad complex of information and communication services for the country’s students.

Along with this, I want to underscore once again that it acquires an enormous significance the introduction of modern information and computer technologies, digital and broadband telecommunications and Internet not only in schools, lyceums, colleges and higher educational institutions, but also in the life of each family. It is the dimensions of development of contemporary communication systems and information technologies that serve as an indicator of the development level of the country and society.

Thanks to the work being accomplished in this direction, today the number of Internet users make up 6 million and half of them account for mobile communication service users.

I would like to especially note that in 2010 the modern digital television was launched in the cities of Tashkent and Samarkand, which allows to significantly increase the quality of services on distribution of multi-program television channels, and opens up principally new opportunities in terms of access to international information resources.

Dear compatriots!

The work being consistently carried out in the sphere of physical training and sports, especially, on further developing the children’s sport, building sports grounds, facilities and complexes in each city and village that meet the latest requirements and equipped with necessary sports inventory, now gives its positive results. 
It should be noted that for over the years of independence Uzbekistan built more than 1200 new sports facilities and more than thousand of them are located in the rural area. This permitted today to draw over 260 thousand children into regular various types of sports.

A significant progress was achieved in actively involving the girls to go in for sports, and above all, in the rural area. Proceeding from the motto “No one should stay aside from sports”, the sports clothing and inventory worth 3 billion 500 million soums were procured for 120 thousand girls from the low-income families.

I would like to draw your attention yet to another notable fact. After adoption of the Program of developing calisthenics, the number of those who go in for this wonderful type of sport in the country increased 6-7-fold, and in some regions – 10-12-fold.

I think in this regard it is appropriate to make one vivid example. At the XVI Summer Asian Games, recently came to an end in China, our sportswomen on calisthenics, having demonstrated their talent and mastery, had secured the honorable second place, which became an unprecedented event in sports life of Uzbekistan.

It is worth noting that more than 500 young sportsmen of our country, the third of which make up girls, have participated this year in the 42 international competitions.

Today we should mention the success of our young sportsmen at the I Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, wh ere they won 9 medals. And at the XVI Asian Games the Uzbekistan national team confidently competed with world-recognized sportsmen – by winning 11 gold, 22 silver and 23 bronze medals and occupied in the team rating the honorable eighth place.

Taking today’s opportunity, I want to announce with pleasure the names of some talented young men and women, who made famous our Homeland to the entire world at the international arenas – Rishod Sobirov, Rustam Kasymjanov, Vladimir Tuychiev, Vadim Menkov, Dilshod Mansurov, Yuliya Tarasova, Arthur Taymazov, Elshod Rasulov, Svetlana Radzivil, Serik Mirbekov, Gerasim Kochnev, Sergey Borzov, Alexei Babajanov, Vyacheslav Gorn and Alexei Mochalov, who won gold medals at the Asian Games.

The student of the Tashkent Institute of Physical Culture, the twice world champion on canoe rowing Vadim Menkov, who in 2010 was recognized by the International Rowing Federation to be the best canoeist of the world, became a true pride of our people.

All of this gives us confidence that the national team of Uzbekistan will successfully compete at 2012 Olympic Games in London.

We hope that the youth national football team of Uzbekistan that successfully competed at the last Asian Games will duly demonstrate its mastery next year in the football world cup in Mexico.

The true courage and selflessness, as well as the high morale and determination were displayed by players of the Uzbekistan national team, who for a second time in a row secured a title of world champions at the amputee football world cup in Argentina.

On behalf of the entire nation I want to express enormous gratitude to all our valorous sportsmen, who demonstrated high mastery at the world and continental competitions and raised high Uzbekistan’s flag, and wish them new victories.

I consider it appropriate to dwell more in detail on yet another priority direction of the State program “Year of harmoniously developed generation”. I am speaking about broad involvement of the graduates of professional colleges and higher educational institutions to the sphere of small business and private entrepreneurship with an aim of practical application of the contemporary knowledge and skills gained by them.

The adoption of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On additional measures to draw the graduates of educational institutions into an entrepreneurial activity” served as an important step in this direction. It is worth noting the work being carried out by the country’s banks in terms of allocating the graduates of educational institutions the soft loans to establish their own business.

I want to draw your attention yet to another important issue. All of us well understand that in the contemporary conditions of fierce competition one cannot speak about progress in isolation from the issue of further developing innovative technologies and science, actively attracting talented and gifted youth to the scientific activity, as well as creating conditions for them to realize their creative and intellectual potential.

Today the time itself dictates that this issue needs to be considered as one of the utterly important priorities of our policy.

Recently we have adopted the resolution of the President on radically improving the system of training the scientific and scientific-pedagogical cadres of higher qualification. The essence of this document is as follows: instead of obsolete methods of cadres training in the forms of postgraduate and doctoral studies at higher educational and scientific research institutions of the country we have introduced an institute of intern-researcher-applicants and senior scientific fellow-applicants.

Most importantly, with a goal of creating incentives and conditions for realizing one’s creative and intellectual potential we have decided to equate the official rate of pay of an intern-researcher-applicant with basic rate of the official rate of pay of an applicant-researcher and of a senior scientific fellow-applicant – with the rate of pay of senior scientific fellows, who have Ph.D. degrees. In practice, it means increasing for all of the aforementioned applicants of a salary to 1.6 times.

It is necessary to dwell yet on another direction of the Program of principal importance, i.e. on continuing the large-scale work being carried out in the country to reinforce family, extend care about young families, provide them with legal and social protection, as well as create necessary conditions to form a healthy and solid family.

There is no need to speak that it is in the family, in the atmosphere of love and mutual respect of parents, wh ere a new human being is born, wh ere he is fostered as a personality and citizen. It is in the family, wh ere he imbibes the notions of honor and kindness, respectful attitude towards elders, wh ere the person’s worldview is shaped in the spirit of national and universal values.

In this regard, this year we continued the work started in previous years in terms of supporting the institution of a family. For example, in order to resolve the housing problems and providing housing amenities the commercial banks allocated the mortgage and consumer credits to 2.5 thousand young families worth 107 billion 600 million soums. Besides, the hokimiyats (governor’s and mayor’s offices) of the regions, cities and districts allocated more than 5 billion 800 million soums of attracted sponsorship funds for reconstruction of the emptied uninhabited buildings and procurement of one’s own housing. More than 7200 young families received cattle for free of charge, and 5 billion 300 soums have been allocated for these purposes.

In the framework of the Program we have introduced the new contemporary forms and tools of the information and pedagogical technologies with an aim to foster in youth a solid spiritual immunity against influence of the so-called “mass culture”, religious extremism, penetration of ideas and values alien to our people.

Certainly, in this context it acquires a profound importance the propaganda and popularization of works of genuine arts in contrast to samples of a low-quality “mass culture”.

Dear friends!

It is notable that the non-governmental organizations became the initiators of many undertakings set by the State program “Year of harmoniously developed generation” and this serves as an indisputable proof of our real achievements in building a civil society in the country, vividly demonstrates the commonality of interests of a state and society in fostering the harmoniously developed generation.

This year alone about 8 trillion soums were channeled from all sources to implementation of the Program “Year of harmoniously developed generation” and this witness about the depth and enormous scale of this work.

Availing myself of this opportunity, on my own behalf and on behalf of the entire nation I want to express a sincere gratitude to the state and non-state organizations of the country, enterprises, farming entities and entrepreneurial structures, foreign funds and international organizations, and all people, who made their worthy contribution to this noble cause.


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