BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 4
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the inauguration of “ASAN Həyat” complex in Tovuz.
The head of state cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the complex.
Assistant to the President - Head of the Department for Work with Law Enforcement Bodies of the Presidential Administration Fuad Alasgarov and Chairman of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ulvi Mehdiyev informed President Ilham Aliyev of the complex.
The head of state launched the complex.
President Ilham Aliyev viewed the innovations at the complex.
After reviewing the complex, the head of state met with “ASAN xidmət” employees and volunteers.
Objecting to the fact that a special chair was put for him, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- You have put such a special chair for me, but isn’t there a simple one? Take it away. Such things are unacceptable. Categorically!
The head of state addressed the meeting.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear young people, it is a pleasure to see you. It is the opening of the “ASAN Həyat” Center in Tovuz. Congratulations on this occasion! While reviewing the center, I feel very happy because it is a reflection of many signs of our policy. “ASAN xidmət” is our intellectual product. The 18th center is starting to operate, and I personally attended the opening of all of them. Each time I am informed about new plans, new programs, new projects, including today.
“ASAN xidmət” is expanding its activities. Both the geographical coverage and the number of services are expanding. When we opened the first center, the number of services was fairly limited. Today, a total of 320 services are provided here in the “ASAN Həyat” Center in Tovuz, and the number of applications is gradually growing. In February, I participated in the opening of the “ASAN Həyat” Center in Kurdamir and at that time there were 36 million applications. It is the beginning of March now and the number of applications reached 37 million. In other words, the number of applications has increased by one million in less than a month. You are also well aware that the approval rating is 99.4 percent. I believe that this is the maximum possible result, and no other service can enjoy such approval. Why? I repeat – because “ASAN xidmət” is a reflection of our policy. The instructions I once gave are being rigorously fulfilled.
The vast majority of employees at “ASAN xidmət” are young people, representatives of a new generation. Here they provide services with a new outlook, new thinking, new culture. This is why “ASAN xidmət” is a very successful project, and this success is underpinned by both a sound policy and the effective work of those who organized this work. In a short time, we were able to create a revolution in the area of public services. Public services are always very problematic. There were many complaints related to this area back in the Soviet times. During the years of independence, too, bureaucracy, corruption and bribery in the field of public services were perceived as an everyday occurrence and, unfortunately, many people got used to that. Therefore, the launch of “ASAN xidmət” inspired great hopes. At the same time, it was somewhat surprising because this was really an innovation. Now that the 18th center is beginning to operate, I think everyone can see that this is not some kind of a private project. It is a new approach, a way of thinking, it is our policy. The transparency and culture of “ASAN” must be applied everywhere else. So “ASAN xidmət” has become an example for many areas. It is no coincidence that a similar project is being implemented in the field of social security – “DOST” centers are beginning to operate, which, like “ASAN xidmət”, will cover our entire country.
We have a fairly broad program related to “ASAN xidmət” centers. As I have already said, this is the 18th center, but their number will reach 27 in the near future. Centers will be built in Aghjabadi, Balakan, Nakhchivan, Sumgayit, Ganja, Lankaran and Salyan, and two more in Baku. Of course, this process will be continued. Thus, people will be provided with better services. This center covers several districts with a population of 700,000 people. This is the second center in the western zone – the first, as I said, was opened in Ganja. The third center will also be opened in Ganja because there is a need for that. One of the advantages of “ASAN xidmət” is that there are no lines here. However, the demand in Baku is so high that we decided to open two more centers. In Ganja and Sumgayit, too, there is a need for a second center.
I should also note that other countries are studying our experience. “ASAN xidmət” has already been launched under the name “ASAN’ in other countries. This was our condition because it is our brand, our intellectual product. Of course, we are ready to share our experience with any country and are doing that. Of course, we are glad that other countries are also using our experience.
International organizations are giving a high assessment to “ASAN”. The UN has acknowledged and awarded “ASAN”. All this, of course, is the result of the work done.
In this center, more than 200 jobs were created and a further 50 jobs for volunteers in “ASAN xidmət” alone. At the same time, 50 jobs were created at the “ABAD” factory at the first stage. By expanding its operations, “ASAN” also expands its functions. These centers are already functioning in the regions as community centers – cafés, discos, outdoor stages, cinemas. For example, there was no cinema in Tovuz before, i.e. in our time. And today there are two cinemas. All opportunities are available for young people to spend their leisure effectively.
Of course, the volunteer movement in Azerbaijan began with “ASAN xidmət”. Today, this movement covers other areas too. I have ordered to set up volunteer groups in state bodies. Volunteer groups have already been established in some ministries. Volunteers did a great job at the international events we hosted – the European and Islamic Games. But it was established at “ASAN”. Thousands of volunteers have already passed this school and taken a worthy place in life. I am sure that the youth working at “ASAN xidmət”, including volunteers, will have a bright future, as they are already engaged in very benevolent deed. This is multifaceted work involving direct contact with people, provision of assistance and service. At the same time, the centers have very progressive experience in terms of innovation. Therefore, I believe that this experience is indispensable for our youth to be able to build their lives in the future.
“ASAN xidmət” also has qualities inherent in our people. Our people have always been hospitable. And those applying here are guests. We have always treated our guests with great respect. The younger generation should also be brought up on these national values. The rules of cultured conduct, cultured treatment, cultured services – all this has deep roots in Azerbaijan. All this is reflected in “ASAN xidmət” in an organized form today. This generally has a positive effect on public relations. I am absolutely convinced that everyone who comes to this center will leave it with a feeling of satisfaction because, first of all, the building is beautiful, secondly, the conditions available, the workers smiling, the level of services provided, the efficiency, time saving and zero tolerance to corruption and bribery in “ASAN xidmət”. This should be the case everywhere. “ASAN xidmət” plays a special role in the fight against bribery and corruption in Azerbaijan because the services provided in these centers do not leave room for corruption and bribery. Therefore, we must fight this evil with the help of many tools – of course, administrative measures and penalties.
The operational measures that have recently been brought to the attention of all citizens, the exposure of corrupt officials, their unsightly acts – all this shows that measures to combat corruption and bribery are of systemic nature. If someone doesn’t understand this, they should: the fight will be continued. Penalties must be applied in relation to criminals. At the same time, there should be systemic measures too. One of them, perhaps even the first, is the rules created in “ASAN xidmət”. There are no opportunities for that here. Young people are already being raised in this spirit. To be honest, friendly and always ready to help – all these are very important factors for the formation of people. Therefore, when speaking of “ASAN xidmət”, we should not be limited to the provision of services to people. This is a very serious movement that has a deeper and broader meaning, a movement that reflects our policy.
I have already said this but I want to say it again: when the first centers were opened, someone might have though that these were just public service centers. This is not true. Our intentions were completely different. It was an initiative that introduced novelty into our society, and it is already reflected in our lives. Azerbaijan is a leader in this area. The creation and exportation of intellectual products is already a reality today.
Of course, I want to reiterate this: having gone through an excellent school here, young people will occupy a worthy place in life and will make every effort to further develop our country. In order to achieve this, you must first of all be educated, competent and patriotic. I believe that these three main factors will protect Azerbaijan from all the troubles in the future, just as they are protecting us today. The developments in the world are unfolding right before our eyes these days. New hotbeds of conflict, new hotbeds of war, new waves of migrants, standoffs, protests, police arbitrariness, violence against peaceful demonstrators, arrests of thousands of demonstrators, their killing – all this is happening before our eyes in developed countries, not in some backward ones. There are reasons for this. This is caused by public discontent. This, too, has its own reasons. It is not only about material factors. Injustice, the gap between the government and the people, stratification, unresolved social problems – there are many factors. I do not want to list all of them. But the fact is that all this is a reality today. Against the background of this picture, there is calm, stability and development in Azerbaijan. Of course, these are our greatest assets and we won them ourselves, no-one helped us. In the most difficult days, no-one extended us a helping hand. I want young people to know this. We achieved everything on our own, thanks to our own courage and talent. There was a time when we did not have money. Then, in the early 1990s, the population of Azerbaijan was 8 million, of which 1 million were refugees and IDPs. There was no money, the economy was crippled and the industry was paralyzed. Tent camps, IDPs living in railway wagons, underneath them. We survived all this. But have a look! Today, thanks to our sound policies and stability, Azerbaijan occupies one of the leading places on a global scale in terms of development. Stability, calm, positive attitude in society – all these are Azerbaijani realities. There is regional development. Tovuz is far from Baku. But we see development in its example. Notice that gas supply rate today is 90 percent. The level of renovated roads is 90 percent. Drinking water has always been a major problem. For several years now, the problem of drinking water has been resolved in Tovuz. A modern hospital, modern dialysis and diagnostic centers, sports centers, parks, industrial enterprises. Today I attended the opening of the State Museum of Ashiq Art and the Carpet Factory. All this suggests that the regions of our country are developing. Young people must work hard in the future so that this development is sustainable and so that our independence is eternal. Therefore, I want to say once again: much as we repeat this, there is no harm – knowledge, literacy, patriotism, attachment to the motherland and national values should be above everything else. Our values have protected us as a people, as a nation from assimilation for centuries. The native language, our literature, art and national consciousness. We must not lose that under any circumstances, no way! As long as I am president, I will strive to fully establish these values, and for young people too. Because young people of today are naturally different from the older generation. And their interests are different. They have other methods of obtaining information. Many young people do not watch television. They have telephones in their hands and they get all the information from there. Sometimes young people live in a virtual space and remain a little aloof from real life. All this is natural, a picture of the present times, so to speak. But despite all this, our youngsters must be raised in the national spirit. They should know that they must be patriotic so that we continue to live as an independent country. Every young person must hold the flag of our country high, must respect national attributes and not fall under anyone’s influence.
For centuries, our people were part of other countries, empires, were denied independence, freedom, lived under the dictate of others. We have been living as an independent country for about 30 years and should live forever. We should never be a colony in the future. To do this, we must have economic strength, military prowess, moral power and values. This is and must be above everything else. Therefore, they are trying to do this today in different ways and under various disguises – they used to call it globalization, but this word has also been removed from dictionaries. Perhaps 10 years ago there was a tendency towards globalization, there was a popular belief that globalization would overcome borders, remove frontiers between nations, everyone would speak the same language and all people would have one mindset. A detrimental policy was pursued towards destroying national characteristics. It is still being pursued today, but under different names. Today, sometimes under the pretext of democracy, they try to subordinate countries. And this is done by countries that flagrantly violate democracy and human rights themselves, arrest journalists, make unreasonable charges, suppress and kill demonstrators, set dogs against them, trample people with horses, fire rubber bullets, hollow out eyes, use tear gas, and all this is obvious. This is being done by those trying to teach us a lesson in democracy. Speaking under the banner of democracy, they are trying to subordinate peoples and states, including us. Therefore, we are faced with pressure, slander and dirty campaigns because we do not bow our heads to anyone and never will. Our national pride and dignity are above everything else. Therefore, they are trying everything to lead young people astray because they know that young people are not shaped up yet, they are more demanding and intolerant of violations. And this is natural. This should be the case, but only for the benefit of the people and state, not for those sitting in another capital. Therefore, young people should know and correctly analyze all this. You should know that our main task is to strengthen independence, increase the power of the Azerbaijani state and preserve national qualities. It is in this spirit that those working at “ASAN xidmət” centers, including volunteers, are brought up. This is why I go back to the activities of “ASAN xidmət” centers, which are so highly praised by the people. Once again, I congratulate you on the opening of the center and wish you success. Thank you!