Autumn session of the Russian State Duma ends on Wednesday

The autumn session of the Russian State Duma (lower house) which started in early September is ending on Wednesday. The last plenary session of the lower house of parliament will be held today.

When commenting on the preliminary results of the session during an Internet press conference, in which 34,201 people from 72 Russia's districts and 38 overseas countries took part, State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov emphasized that "the session was rather intensive, and the deputies adopted about 100 laws." Parliament and the government consider the session a budgetary one. The budgetary race that started in July, ended with the approval of the 2003 federal budget on December 11, the record earliest term since the start of the reforms, which became possible thanks to the new way of working out a budget. Prior to the submission of the draft budget to the State Duma, the Cabinet of Ministers harmonized the basic parameters and macro-economic indices of the budget with the deputies, Chairman of the State Duma budget committee Alexander Zhukov said.

The State Duma deputies continued elaborating a legal basis for the reforms that are under way now. In the first reading, government bills on the reforms of housing and communal services and power industry were passed. On the last session day, government bills on the railway transport reform were finally approved.

As part of the tax reform that provides for the reduction of the number of taxes and tax cuts, the deputies passed laws that simplify the taxation of small businesses, and a special chapter was added to the Russian Tax Code on the taxation of enterprises that are operating in accordance with the Production Sharing Agreement.

The State Duma also passed a law on further liberalisation of currency regulations. The law allows Russians to take out up to 10,000 dollars abroad without a special permission.

Amendments and changes to the pension legislation that provide for a pension rise were made. The minimum wage was raised from 450 roubles to 600 roubles.

The State Duma was working on the election legislation. New versions of the laws "On the Elections of the President of the Russian Federation," "On the Elections of the Deputies of the State Duma" were passed. A law on the regulation of the Vybory (Elections) state computer-aided system was also passed.

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