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Information Digest 47 (March 6, 2015)

ECONOMY
Privatization Spreads Throughout Uzbekistan
 
ELECTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
Akmal Saidov met with voters of Samarkand region
Islam Karimov met with voters of Jizzakh and Syrdarya regions
 
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
Meetings of the delegation of Uzbekistan in Tokyo
 
SOCIETY
Our Women...
 
HISTORY
A Word Resounding from the Depth of Ages
 
 
ECONOMY
Privatization Spreads Throughout Uzbekistan
Kicked off in the 1990s, privatization of state property has brought advanced technologies, the experience of industrial engineering, foreign investments and big export orders in Uzbekistan's economy. Meanwhile, the current conditions require new approaches to the state property management, and, as practice shows, its transfer to private investors is most effective.
Uzbekistan has made a significant progress in privatization and consequent attraction of foreign investors. There are more than four thousand ventures with foreign capital from more than 90 countries. However, experts point out to certain obstacles to the further dynamic development of the sector. They primarily boil down to the lack of systematic monitoring of the effectiveness of the state's involvement in some structural sectors, upon which they decide on the future transfer of certain shares into private ownership. 
It is important to realize that the increased presence of the private sector in the economy through the sale of state property should be achieved solely through the involvement of professional foreign investors. Therefore, Uzbekistan has been implementing a program on the zero cost transfer of unprofitable, low-profit and economically insolvent enterprises to investors who are willing to commit themselves to their rehabilitation and replacement with new up-to-date production facilities.
In order to make this work more effectively, the domestic expert community is currently completing the development of a new program of privatization of state property for 2015-2016, which envisages a drastic decrease of the state's presence in sectors and areas of the real economy. The document provides for the elimination of over 660 idle state-owned enterprises with their subsequent sale at public auction to new private owners, as well as a complete selling of state-owned shares in 360 non-strategic businesses. 
The transfer of more than 400 idle objects to investors at zero redemption value is seen as the major direction, as it promises to attract strategic foreign investors and modern technologies in short terms. It is planned to concurrently reduce the state share to 51% in 203 acting companies through the issuance of additional shares worth 450 billion soums in the stock market with their subsequent sale to private investors at stock trading  (currency rates of CB RU from 6.03.2015   1$= 2466.86 soums). Experts estimate that these measures will allow selling about one thousand companies to private investors, and the number of enterprises with the state share in the authorized capital will be reduced from 534 to 147 or by 3.6 times.
The new program will take into account the experience of developed countries. The Uzbek side is currently negotiating with representatives of the World Bank on involving its experts in the development of the program, as well as documents on streamlining the administration of public enterprises. It is also planned to hold a panel discussion in Tashkent to discuss the strategies of addressing the issues of privatization and streamlining the administration of public enterprises.
 The arrival of the World Bank experts in Uzbekistan is scheduled for March 5. The discussion will highlight the ways of strengthening the public-private partnership in the implementation of big projects, the forms of engagement of the private sector, commitments and responsibilities of private operators, managers, government agencies, financial institutions and investors.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
 
ELECTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
Akmal Saidov met with voters of Samarkand region
According to the report of UzA, the Candidate for President of the Republic of Uzbekistan from the Democratic Party of Uzbekistan "Milly Tiklanish" Akmal Saidov on March 4 met with voters of Samarkand region.
The meeting was opened by the Chairman of the 7th Samarkand district election commission Y.Allayarov. Trustee of the candidate A.Pardaev introduced the biography of the candidate.
Deputy Chairman of the Samarkand Regional Council of the Democratic Party "Milly Tiklanish" H.Mahkamova, chairman of the district council Taylak party Sh.Behbudov and others noted that implementation of the program will promote to social and economic development of the country, further deepening of democratic reforms. 
(Source: UzReport.uz)
Islam Karimov met with voters of Jizzakh and Syrdarya regions
Candidate for President of the Republic of Uzbekistan from the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businessmen - Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov on March 5 met with voters of Jizzakh region, UzA reported.
The meeting was opened by the chairman of the 4th Jizzakh district election commission A.Sattorov.
Candidate for President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov made a speech about his election program.
The program defines the main priorities for the comprehensive development of our country. In particular, the technological upgrading of the industry and its structural transformation, creating the most favorable conditions for the development of small business and private entrepreneurship, reducing the share of government in the economy, improving the fertility of land and the introduction of modern agricultural technologies in agriculture, the conversion of farms diversified, expanding localization program, improve the investment environment, continuous improvement of living standards, strengthening cooperation with all countries, peace and stability in our country.
Socio-economic development of our country can be seen in the example of Jizzakh region. In the special industrial zone Jizzakh" large industrial facilities as Jizzakh cement plant, the Uzbek-German joint venture "Jizzakh plastics" produce competitive products that are in demand on the domestic and foreign markets.
In 2014, enterprises of the region exported products worth $45.6 million. With a purpose of structural transformation of the economy in the sphere of industry implemented 237 projects, in agriculture - 197, in the service sector - more than 700 projects. 
On the same day, President Islam Karimov met with voters of Syrdarya region. 
The meeting was opened by the Chairman of the 8th Syrdarya district electoral commissions Sh.Mamatkulov.
In the election program, the candidate defined the main directions of deepening the large-scale reforms on the path to the highest goal - the development of our country, upgrade all spheres of life. It sets out important tasks such as taking the rightful place among the most developed states of the world, ensuring dynamic growth of our economy at the expense of modern industries, the further development of private property and entrepreneurship, the revision of the state's share in the economy, improvement of soil reclamation and improvement of yield, consistent support for farmers ' movement, the expansion of the program localization, improvement of the investment environment. Among the priority directions that have to be achieved are employment, improving the level and quality of life, strengthening cooperation with foreign states.
(Source: UzReport.uz)
 
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
Meetings of the delegation of Uzbekistan in Tokyo
On March 4, 2015 the delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan participated in the ninth Meeting of Senior Officials "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue at the level of deputy foreign ministers.
Official representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Japan were also attended the meeting, which was held in Tokyo.
During the meeting, prospects of the development of cooperation in the field of agriculture, in the fight against drug trafficking and other issues on deepening cooperation among the member countries of the Dialogue, were also discussed.
Moreover, the issues of preparations for the 6th Meeting of the foreign ministers of the member countries of the Dialogue in Ashgabat in 2016 were considered.
***
On March 3-5, 2015, in Tokyo, Japan, the delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan which participated in the ninth Meeting of Senior Officials “Central Asia plus Japan” Dialogue, held bilateral talks with the parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs Kentaro Sanoura, the Special Representative for Central Asia and Caucasus affairs of MFA of Japan Akira Muto, the vice president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Kae Yanagisawa, the Chairman of Japanese-Uzbek Committee for Economic Cooperation Mamoru Sekiyama, the member of Japan’s House of Representatives Seiichiro Murakami, the Chairman of General Council of the Liberal Democratic Party Toshihiro Nikaio.
The sides exchanged views on practical issues of Uzbek-Japanese relations in various fields, discussed some international and regional issues.
At the meeting with the members of the Japan-Uzbekistan Parliamentary League of Friendship prospects of strengthening inter-parliamentary relations were discussed.
(Source: Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)
 
SOCIETY
Our Women...
Uzbekistan is set to celebrate the first spring holiday - March 8 - the International Women's Day. Celebrations in honor of the fair half of mankind emphasize their growing role in various spheres of life.
From the first days of independence, Uzbekistan has embarked on enhancement of public and political involvement of women, their education, employment building their spiritual and intellectual capacity, protection of mother and child health. The policy is reflected in the Presidential Decree 'On the measures of enhancing the role of women in state and social construction of the Republic or Uzbekistan', 'On additional measures to support the Women's Committee of Uzbekistan', and other acts The Women's Committee of Uzbekistan was entrusted with ensuring effective implementation of the measures aimed at protecting the rights and interests of representatives of the fair half of the population. Today it ranks the most branched and large-scale organization among women's NCOs, which has structural units in all districts and regions of the country.
 
... CARING
Our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, wives, daughters are the treasurers of the family hearth. They care of the order and comfort at home, make sure that no one is left without attention and care. This tradition is especially valuable today, when the living conditions of the Uzbek people radically change.
The intensity and scale of housing construction in all regions of the country has been growing with the years In the years of independence, the total area of the housing stock has increased by 1.9 times. Uzbekistan has achieved a steady growth of housing from 12.4 to 15.4 square meters per person. Improvement of social conditions has been particularly noticeable in urban areas by dozens of modern apartment buildings. Similar transformations are seen in rural areas as well: the construction of standard design comfortable houses is underway. The number of new houses reached 11,000 in 2014 alone. The quality and level of their arrangement are on a par with conditions in urban areas.
Creation of conditions that would facilitate household work for women is an issue of special concern. The availability of an electric oven, fridge and freezer, water heating boiler, a washing machine and various kitchen appliances has become trivial. Last year the state joined the campaign on equipping houses with durables. Young families received almost 215 billion soums worth of concessional loans so that they could arrange their houses and purchase household appliances they need  (currency rates of CB RU from 6.03.2015   1$= 2466.86 soums). For instance, the Federation of Trade Unions donated household electrical appliances worth 1.5 billion soums to 1,000 low-income families.
Local authorities attach great importance to the needs of women when developing social infrastructure in settlements.
Around 150 complexes of consumer services, beauty salons, home appliance and tailoring services were built in remote villages last year.
...HEALTHY,
Women's health is another priority of public policy. The implementation of the Presidential Decree 'On state program on further strengthening of reproductive mother, child and adolescent health for 2014- 2018' is of high relevance. TP program envisages a broad range of measures on early detection and treatment of women's diseases. Monthly health weeks for women, children and adolescent girls have become traditional: specialists of regional medical associations, regional and national medical institutions go to the most remote villages and offer local residents examinations and consultations. Last year, the medical examination rally covered 13.6 million women and children.
As a result, they managed to improve health of 2.8 million women and 2.5 million children.
The efforts of the national healthcare have helped to decrease the maternal and infant mortality almost thrice, and prevent births of children with congenital diseases.
Today, the average life expectancy for women in Uzbekistan comes to 75 years old. It is noteworthy that women make up the majority of eight thousand of Uzbek centenarians.
Since the early days of independence, Uzbekistan has been taking extensive efforts to enhance the role and status of women in the political and socio-economic life, ensure their legitimate rights and interests. Uzbek women show good progress in major areas of life.
...EDUCATED,
Development of infrastructure of education and training, creation of equal conditions for integrated and harmonious development of boys and girls has been in the spotlight. Children's sports facilities have the same objectives. Over the last fifteen years, their number has grown significantly in the country. In 2014 alone, Children's Sports Development Fund invested a total of 100 billion soums for the construction of 18 sports facilities and 73 school gyms, and reconstruction and overhaul of 24 facilities. The sports infrastructure now provides excellent conditions for regular training in 30 kinds of sports for nearly two million children, including over 840,000 schoolgirls. Within this period of time the number of regularly training girls has increased dozens of times.
Holding of various events on involving women and girls in sports and physical activity has been a priority as well. Effective tool for achieving this goal became Three-stage sports games of Umid Nihollari, Barkamol Avlod and the Universiade, as well as a national women festival Ayollar Sport Festivalli, the competition among housewives and girls' Cimnastika Barcha Uchun (Gymnastics For Everybody), family competitions Soghlom Oila (Healthy Family) and the festival among women Soghlom Ona - Soghlom Bola (A Healthy Mother Means a Healthy Child) have been an effective tool to achieve the abovementioned goal.
Development of sports in Uzbekistan has been keeping abreast of global trends. Girls are increasingly getting involved in many kinds of sports that were previously deemed as men's sports. Women's wrestling has been intensively developing in all regions of the country; almost all kinds of martial arts in Uzbekistan have got a women's wing. The Uzbek athletes take high bars in weightlifting. Marina Sysoeva, Manzura Mamasalieva, Makhliyo Tagaeva, Lola Kadyrova, Farangis Shomuradova are known far beyond the country. There is an interesting fact: the girls that grew up in remote areas make up the majority in the national team.
Today, each of the girls is subject to a twelve-year education scheme: nine years in school and three years of training in a vocational college or academic lyceum. Such an educational system allows each of them entering the independent life being educated, open-minded and backed by a profession, as well as provides an opportunity for building a strong family and self- actualization.
The number of girls who continue their education in universities has been growing with the years. In some areas of education and master specialties their number reaches 90%.
A system of state support of talented youth has been developing. Today's girls are very enthusiastic about various competitions among school, vocational college and academic lyceum students. They decently rank among the holders of state and presidential scholarships, which imply showing not just a high level of all-round training, but also having certain achievements in research. There are special awards to encourage and motivate talented young women. One of them, Zulfiya State Award, is traditionally  awarded on the threshold of  March 8. Young women aged 14 to 22 years become its holders  for excellence in the literature, art, research, culture and education.
Women have been increasingly choosing a research career. Female scientists are actively involved in the development of surgery, molecular medicine, chemical engineering, instrumentation, geology, Biology, archeology - they work in almost all branches of science.
...GOAL-ORIENTED,
Today, women make up about 70 percent of secondary school teachers in Uzbekistan. The share of women makes up 50% among the specialists of vocational colleges and academic lyceums, and 43% of the faculty in higher education institutions. In health care, 78% of the medical staff, including about 53% of doctors, is represented by the fair sex. They are active in almost all areas of medicine, including the most complicated, specialized and high-tech.
A stereotype that teaching and healthcare are female professions has been tending to fall, as the representatives of the fair sex have been showing themselves in other industries. Their share is growing today in rapidly developing high-tech industries like car engineering, microbiology, pharmaceutics, electronic and electrical sector, information and communication technologies, knowledge- intensive industries, marketing and services. About 55% of staff at enterprises, mobile operators and ISPs as well more than 43 % of specialists in finance and lending is represented by female specialist. 
Almost a half of the country's agricultural workers are hard-working and selfless women making a huge contribution to rich yields, production of fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products, and providing abundance on our tables.
The expanding involvement of women in social and political life, the construction of a democratic state and civil society proves their political and civic position. They occupy an important place in the system of political parties, representative bodies and local authorities, nongovernmental non-profit organizations. There are female members of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis and the Senate. Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, mayors in all regions, cities and districts of Uzbekistan are also women.
...ENTERPRISING,
Women have been increasingly active in business. Over the past decade, the share of female managers in small and private enterprises has increased by 1.6 times; they manage more than 40% of small businesses. According to experts, this is largely a result of the major trends in economic development. During the years of independence, the share of income from business activity haws increased from 10.6 to 52% in the income structure of the population, ranking Uzbekistan among the highest rates in the CIS.
The government comprehensively upholds female and family business. In 2014, commercial banks allocated 600 billion soums of soft loans for female entrepreneurs, as well as for the small businesses and enterprises that employ at least 50% of women.
The Women's Committee, Mahalla Foundation, Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education, Chamber of Commerce and Trade and banks initiate large-scale training activities for girls and women in doing business. 1,000 female college graduates of Tashkent, Namangan, Syrdarya, Jizzakh, Surkhandarya and Navoi regions underwent a special course in 2014. Information windows providing educational and consulting services to young women willing to start their own business were piloted in five local communities of the city of Tashkent, Tashkent and Syrdarya regions. The administration of the Muinak District in Karakalpakstan implemented an interesting project on building the economic capacity of its women. 110 women from low-income families underwent a training course on making business plans.
WISE,
Having reached retirement age, many women continue working. Their experience contributes to the stability and sustainable development of enterprises. The Year of Attention and Care for the Senior Generation implies a special care for them. They are welcome to receive a free voucher of the trade union and undergo rehabilitation and treatment in the country's best resorts.
Our elder women are seen as treasurers of traditions and customs. Therefore, this year also focuses on the development of folklore in the regions and state support for creative teams, as the larger part of them is represented by older people. They will be assisted in the organization of concert activity, purchase of musical instruments, tools, stage costumes, and provided with facilities for rehearsals and performances. The list includes ethnographic vocal and instrumental ensembles Amu Tulkini (--) from Karakalpakstan, Qo'qon Yor Yori (Kokand Wedding) from the Fergana region, and Boysun from Surkhandarya.
It is hard to imagine our life comfortable without the grandmothers, as their care for children is invaluable. This year, elderly women will be involved in numerous activities aimed at patriotic education of youth and children in the spirit of love and respect for the elderly. For instance, students and old people will be invited for a tourist train, which will take them to the historic gems of Uzbekistan. The trips promise to be filled with interesting stories on the transformations taking place in the country and in the live of the people.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
HISTORY
A Word Resounding from the Depth of Ages
There are hundreds of unique archaeological sites preserved in the wide expanse of Karakalpakstan, land of ancient culture. Few of them have been studied well. The rich history of the country is duly presented in epigraphic inscriptions on numerous monuments. These treasures of written language have been deciphered, supplemented with historical texts and presented in a new book from the series “Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan” prepared for publication by a group of creative researchers of the country. 
Eight out of twenty planned volumes of encyclopedic-type edition is ready for publication. This is the first large-scale experience in the study of epigraphic inscriptions on the architectural monuments and other masterpieces of Uzbekistan’s ancient architecture.   
The work carried out by the creative group has a great public and international impact. Among them the album ‘Masterpieces of Uzbekistan’s Architectural Epigraphy’ created within the President Islam Karimov’s resolution ‘On Preparation and Celebration of the Twentieth Anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan’ dated April 6, 2011. The book has been awarded a number of prestigious prizes at International competitions and book fairs. Thus, the album ‘Masterpieces of Uzbekistan’s Architectural Epigraphy’ was rated first in the nomination ‘Culture. Science. Education’ and was second in the ‘Art Book’ nomination at the 9th  Interstate competition of CIS member-states ‘The Book Art’ held in Astana. The book was also got positive assessment on the part of a number of leading global experts.  
All this is a proof of a rather important academic and cultural significance of the project, which enabled to decently and at the professional level present masterpieces of material and spiritual heritage of Uzbekistan on international arena and promotes its recognition and authority thus manifesting the Government’s true care and concern about its monuments.  
These circumstances inspired the creative group to expand the project scale and start activities on a series of albums on the epigraphic monuments in the Republic of Karakalpakstan and the provinces of the Republic of Uzbekistan. A series of books ‘Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan’ is a logical continuation of the album ‘Masterpieces of Uzbekistan’s Architectural Epigraphy.’  
“This project on the study and publication of architectural epigraphic monuments is being successfully implemented,” says Komiljon Rakhimov, researcher of the Oriental manuscripts’ center under the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies, coordinator on the preparation and publication of book editions in the series ‘Masterpieces of Uzbekistan’s Architectural Epigraphy.’ So far the monuments seemed to have kept silence, since oriental inscriptions look like patterns and so much interrelated with ornamental patterns that ignorant people accept them as a decoration. Only now inscriptions on the monuments started to ‘talk’ the language of our forefathers.” 
A big number of historians, art and culture specialists, philologists and Islam researchers are involved for project implementation. Local specialists and representatives of local administrations rendered assistance in the provinces. ‘Uzbekistan Today’ News Agency ensures necessary logistical support. 
The volume devoted to Epigraphy of Karakalpakstan presents for the first time the full reading of all inscriptions in a number of sepulchral and burial grounds. The creative group made quite a discovery in the course of their study and deciphering process.  
Wood-carving tradition especially that of columns and doors has become rather popular in this ancient land. Their samples are kept in Sultan Uvays-bobo mausoleum in Beruniy district, one of the most respected monuments of Karakalpak architecture frequently visited by pilgrims and tourists. Legend has it that the Prophet edified Uvays al-Karani (the mausoleum complex bears his name) to the righteous path.  An antique folding door at the complex entrance is decorated with carved writings, which reflect the name of the author of wood-carving and date of its completion. Few masters of their trade merited such an honor – to leave their names on the monument. There is a deciphered dictum in the form of a good edification in the saint’s grave-yard frieze.
Excavations on the site of Caliph Rejep monument revealed samples of fine epigraphy in the form of Arab “naskh” script, which framed its façade and central niche. 
Another monument – Mazlum-sulu mausoleum (researchers date its construction to the 13th -early 14th cc.) is considered a burial ground of local ruler Mazlum-sulu’s daughter. One of the walls of the structure bears an excellent text, in which the girl seems to console those who come to bow her remains. A group of researchers found an inscription in this complex, which was so indiscernible that it had never attracted anybody’s attention. It was information on a calligrapher who wrote the text. There is also Saadi’s maxim here so much popular with the calligraphers and found in many monuments in Uzbekistan. It starts with the words, “The object of these patterns is to leave fond memories of …”
The epigraph of Narinjan-bobo complex is a unique inscription on ceramic briquette, which in its time was attached over the Saint’s mausoleum entrance (currently it is kept at the State Museum of History of Uzbekistan). The name of a calligrapher is almost effaced in the mid-13th  century text made in decorative ‘naskh’ script. Researchers succeeded to read his name as well as many epigraphs almost fully lost in the bygone years.
The epigraphy also provides examples of a rather high level of population literacy in the past. This was a conclusion drawn up in the process of studying inscriptions in various structures’ walls and columns. For instance, these include the lines written in Indian ink or scribbled by pilgrims on walls of the Mizdak-khan memorial complex mostly by rank and file people: copper-smiths, carpenters, merchants, etc. Very frequently these ‘autographs’ cite verses by prominent poets or even represent pieces of poetry by writers themselves.  
Inscriptions on minor architectural structures – kuluptas – have been researched and described for the first time in Karakalpakstan. If we turn to etymology of this word it may be interpreted as a “stone key”, although the structures themselves bear stronger resemblance to a keyhole. They also appear to remind of stylized human images, which they are devoted to, with description of their genealogy and certain episodes of their lives.  
This laborious and exciting task will, in my opinion, serve an impetus for further research activities of restoration workers. Tourist guides will find this information helpful since from now on they can provide accurate information on deciphered inscriptions related to one or another architectural monument rather than existing legends.
But most importantly the work on epigraphic pieces holds in itself spiritual nourishment and enables to deeper realize one’s national values and originality. 
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
 
 
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