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Despite the resistance of the "centrist" factions, the State Duma adopted a law to raise student grants

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"I am satisfied that we managed to approve an increase in student grants before the end of the spring session [of the Duma]," stated Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education and Science Alexander Shishlov (the YABLOKO faction) on Saturday, June 21, 2003, as on June 20, 2003 the state Duma adopted a corresponding draft law. Shishlov also noted that after the proposals made by the pro-governmental factions of the parliament to postpone consideration of this issue by autumn, the Committee received hundreds of protest letters from representatives of trade unions from all over the country.

In accordance with the amendments introduced by the Duma to the law "On the Minimum Wage" and "On Higher and Secondary Professional Education" university student grants will be doubled (staring from September 2003) to 400 roubles, and for students of colleges to 140 roubles.

Examination of the draft law was scheduled for June 18, 2003, but on the threshold the Council of the Duma removed the issue from the agenda of the plenary meeting at the initiative of representatives of pro-governmental factions, namely Lubov Sliska (Unity), Oleg Morozov (Russia's Regions), Alexei Mitrofanov (LDPR), Farida Gainullina (Fatherland-All Russia) and Anatoli Aksakov (People's Deputy).

According to Shishlov, "the centrists proposed postponing examination of this issue by autumn under the pretext that Duma has to adopt a number of more important documents by the end of the spring session." Shishlov also noted that expenditures on raising student grants are envisaged by the federal budget for this year: they only have to be approved at a legislative level.

On June 18, 2003, Shishlov proposed considering the draft law on student grants, but the debate of the draft law did not happen owing to ashortage of time. On June 20 Shishlov managed to insist that examination of this issue had to take place in a fixed hour. The Unity of Fatherland-All Russia factions voted against this, however, the votes of other factions sufficed to support Shishlov's initiative. Finally the State Duma adopted the law to raise student grants at once in three readings by record high number of votes - 427, against a required minimum of 226 votes.

See also:

Reform in Education

RIA Oreanda, June 21, 2003. Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education and Science is satisfied with the decision of the State Duma to raise student grants.

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