Tatarstan criteria of poverty to be extended throughout Russia

False “poor” will be sent to work, and “the real needy” will be supported

Tatarstan's experience in strengthening targeted support for poor citizens can be extended to the whole of Russia. Such experiments have begun in seven regions of the Russian Federation — in each with its own regional characteristics. Officials say only about the redistribution of funds from the false “poor” in favour of those who “are really in need”. The Republic of Tatarstan wants to take benefits from the “poor” with yachts and snowmobiles, provided with housing of at least 40 sq. m for each family member or at least 20 acres of land for each, and to transfer the money to families with five or more children living on incomes below the subsistence minimum. Also, the list of new support measures include a free kindergarten and a certificate for medicines for large and poor families with children up to three years. Read more in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

“Supporting those who are in a more difficult situation”

The ministry of labour of Russia is studying the regional initiatives to refuse the benefits to some categories of poor Russians. In particular, it is proposed not to consider needy those citizens, though with low incomes, but having a large living space, large plots of land, expensive transport, in a word — well-endowed. The officials called “lazy” those citizens who, owning “superfluous” real estate and lands, do not earn on them and receive the state benefit payments. Such people are offered to refuse payments. The released funds are proposed to be used to support those who really need them.

One of the innovators appeared to be Tatarstan, where the criteria for measuring poverty has changed this spring. Regions-pioneers along with the Republic of Tatarstan there also became Primorsky Krai, Kabardino-Balkaria, Lipetsk Oblast, Ivanovo Oblast, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Novgorod Oblast and Tomsk Oblast.

In particular, if they take into account only the cash income of Tatarstan citizens (official) to determine the need for benefits, since April they added the second indicator — property, in the amount of “extra” square metres per family member. The ministry of labour and social protection of the Republic of Tatarstan has monetized the bivariate calculation of poverty according to the following scheme: if a pensioner owns real estate over 40 square metres of living space confirmed by Rosreestr, he or she loses part of the benefits. Our publication has already written how some Tatarstan pensioners have lost the benefits of travel in public transport on a single social travel card.

As Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan Leyla Fazleeva, who oversees the social block of the republic, told Realnoe Vremya, “if you look at this issue, this initiative has reasons” to be extended to the whole state.

“This initiative has a good effect on targeted support of the population — to support those who are in a more difficult situation. It is supported in the Russian Federation because [the state] is interested in helping those who are really in need, who are in a very difficult situation. That part of the population who are in a difficult financial situation gives a positive assessment to such decisions,” she commented to our correspondent.

Saved money will go to large families

The press service of the Tatarstan ministry of labour told Realnoe Vremya about this experiment in the republic. This year, Tatarstan is participating in the pilot project on poverty reduction conducted by the federal ministry within the framework of Vladimir Putin's May Decrees. In 2018, the poverty rate in the republic was 7,2% (280,400 citizens with incomes below the subsistence minimum (8,709 rubles)). By 2024, the figure is to decrease to 4,5% (175,200 citizens).

The regions have been instructed to improve the efficiency and targeting of social support for poor citizens. Tatarstan has applied new criteria of need in the appointment of individual measures of social support for the third month.

“When establishing a monthly child allowance and a monthly cash payment for travel in public transport to pensioners, in addition to the income of citizens, from 1 April 2019, the level of their property provision is taken into account. The citizens who own yachts, aircraft, snowmobiles, objects of industrial production, two or more cars, the year of production of one of which does not exceed three years, apartments, the area of which per each family member exceeds 40 sq. m, are not entitled to receive these payments; land plots, the area of which per each family member exceeds 0,2 hectares; country houses, the area of which per each family member exceeds 40 square metres,” reported in the press service of the ministry of labour, employment and social protection of the Republic of Tatarstan.

At the same time, a single living pensioner with an apartment of no more than 80 square metres of the property will retain the right to receive a monthly cash payment for travel in public transport, the ministry of labour stated.

It has not been reported yet at what extent the number of recipients of benefits for the poor in Tatarstan is going to fall, however, they already have plans on what to spend the saved money. Since January 2020, the money “will be used to provide additional measures of social support to large families whose average per capita income is below the subsistence minimum”. In particular, the volume of budget expenditures for the provision of monthly payment alone in March in Tatarstan amounted to 216,72 million rubles, and in June — 206,48 million.

An allowance of almost 5,000 rubles, free daycare, and a certificate for medicines

In addition, from January 2020, the families with five or more children with a per capita income below the subsistence minimum will receive a monthly allowance for each family member in the amount of the difference between the per capita income and the subsistence minimum. The average benefit is 4,668 rubles a month (currently, there are 627 such families, 4 537 members of such families). For these purposes, an additional 236,1 million rubles a year will be allocated from the budget of the republic.

“As a result, there will be no poor families with five or more children in the Republic of Tatarstan. In addition, in order to provide additional assistance to large families, it has been decided to completely exempt all large families with three or more children, with incomes below the subsistence minimum, from payment for kindergarten (currently, the amount of parental payment for large families is 50 per cent) from 2020. This measure will be available for 7,202 children. Additional costs of the budget of the Republic of Tatarstan will amount to 44,7 million rubles a year,” the ministry of labour told Realnoe Vremya.

Another measure is provided to maintain the health of children under three years from the families with a per capita income below the subsistence minimum (for the first quarter of 2019 — 9,170 rubles). For such families, they will introduce an electronic certificate for medicines in the amount of 10,000 rubles a year. The estimated number of recipients is 17,631 children, the Tatarstan budget costs — 176 million rubles a year.

By Timur Rakhmatullin, Vasilya Shorshova