Seeking openness, government publishes plans for 2011
These include the finance, health, infrastructure, communications and welfare ministries. The 26 ministers are scheduled to present their full plans at a conference closed to the media tomorrow and Tuesday.
The government wants to make its ministries' annual plans more accessible to the public and got this goal underway by publishing 2011 work plans for several ministries over the weekend.
These include the finance, health, infrastructure, communications and welfare ministries. The 26 ministers are scheduled to present their full plans at a conference closed to the media tomorrow and Tuesday. To be more transparent and open, the government intends to present all these plans in a book. Also, more details are being offered than in past years.
The policy planning department at the Prime Minister's Office said the book is designed to give a complete picture of the government's activities and to enable oversight. It includes concrete goals for each ministry and states how results will be measured at the beginning of 2012.
"For the first time, the government will have a concrete tool to measure how it has met its goals," the government says in the book's introduction. Some goals go beyond the level of individual ministries, including encouraging growth, reducing social gaps, slicing bureaucracy and improving public service, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The government wants to make Israel a regional economic power and a global center for technology.
Extending the railways
The Transportation Ministry seeks to extend the country's railways and the Trans-Israel Highway (Route 6), encourage the use of public transportation and increase competition among vehicle importers. The ministry plans to issue initial tenders for building train lines between Haifa and Beit She'an, and between Acre and Carmiel. The ministry also seeks to reduce the number of road-accident fatalities by 6% this year to 372 from 396 in 2010.
The Communications Ministry seeks to increase competition to make the sector more fair, writes Minister Moshe Kahlon. This year consumers will see virtual cell phone operators (operators who do not have their own physical cell phone network ). There will also be a new company that will lay infrastructure for top-speed Internet access, and more public television channels available through digital terrestrial television, he said. The ministry also intends to increase public wireless Internet access.
Reducing social gaps
The Health Ministry's goals for the new year include reducing the gaps in access to health care among different social strata, reducing the amount of time patients wait in line at health clinics and intervening in the private insurance market.
The ministry wants to reduce the public's exposure to harmful environmental factors and unhealthy food, and make anti-smoking legislation harsher.
Integrating into society
The Social Affairs Ministry plans to start working on multiyear plans and help disadvantaged families and individuals integrate into society. It seeks to increase the employment rate among disabled people. It also seeks to build more housing for violent men ordered to leave their homes.
The Infrastructure Ministry seeks to increase the use of natural gas, encourage the conservation of energy, and introduce competition into the gasoline market. This year 500 electric cars will hit the road, it says. Natural gas should be responsible for 48% of our energy consumption by 2013, up from the current 40%, it says. In addition, 11% of our electricity should be produced by companies other than the Israel Electric Corporation by 2013. Currently, the figure is 3.6%. In addition, the ministry wants to launch a pilot program to save energy in households, which includes swapping 3 million lightbulbs and 25,000 appliances with energy-saving alternatives.
The Finance Ministry's plan covers the next two years; on its agenda are increasing economic growth, reducing inequality and increasing economic stability given the chances of global shocks. It seeks to advance knowledge-rich fields such as biotech.