‘It is wrong to think that one can live on social support measures’

6,9% of Tatarstan’s population or 70,000 families live below the poverty line

Tatarstan is in the top 3 more or less favourable regions in poverty, though its 280,000 citizens hardly make their ends meet. Moreover, around 70,000 are below the poverty line. Large families with five or more children are the most disadvantaged, and only one in ten of them is ready to sign social contracts, which in authorities’ opinion, means that the grey labour market blossoms. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report from a meeting of the Tatarstan State Council’s Committee for Social Policy what benefits families with children got, why there was an outflow of people who wanted to be serviced in the employment agency, how it is possible to artificially stimulate natality and if lunch boxes for children with disabilities would be replaced by payouts.

Payouts for the needy increased by a third

This year, over 10,5 billion rubles have been allocated for social support for families with children, nearly 7 billion rubles come from the federal budget, noted Vice Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan Natalya Butayeva at a meeting of Tatarstan State Council’s Committee for Social Policy. This sum is 33% bigger than last year thanks to anti-COVID-19 benefits that were introduced. First of all, it is a monthly payout when the first child is born (or adopted) after 1 January 2018. This year, it has been 9,373 rubles for families whose per capita income doesn’t exceed 20,170 rubles. Next year, its amount will rise to 9,713 rubles.

Moreover, monthly payouts for a child from 3 to 7 years (4,686,5 rubles) for families whose average per capita income isn’t above 9,450 rubles have been envisaged since 2020. 51,000 children receive this benefit in the republic. Tatarstan, in turn, introduced regional one-time payouts for women in the countryside. 6,500 women have received the money. So the woman under 25 is paid 50,000 rubles when the first child is born, 100,000 rubles if the third and next children are born before she turns 29 years. The republican budget has about 165 million rubles annually for these purposes.

Moreover, the republic has adopted additional measures of social support at 483,3 million rubles since this year, which have allowed supporting the neediest large families whose average per capita income is below the living wage amid the pandemic. They receive a monthly payout, have a kindergarten fee compensated and get 10,000 to purchase medicines and given Newborn Baby’s Box worthy of 8,847 rubles if needed.

Also, Help is Near large-scale charity campaign kicked off during the lockdown on the Tatarstan president’s initiative, more than 209,000 food baskets were provided to the needy. Butayeva promised that the existing supporting measures for low-income families would stay in 2021 too.

Applications for maternity capital have doubled

Families are financially supported by the Tatarstan Ministry of Education and Science. Vice Minister Alsu Asadullina enumerated such types of assistance as free hot meals for 1st-4th- graders, providing orphaned children with housing, payment of compensation for parents’ kindergarten fee: 20% for the first child, 50% — for the second, 70% — for the third and further children. Over 129,500 people receive the compensation.

Maternity capital is another type of support. Vice head of the Tatarstan office of Russia’s Pension Fund Yelena Polyakova noted that in 2020 the number of granted certificates in Tatarstan has doubled — the benefit for the first child can be received from the state since 2020. Over 29,100 certificates for maternity capital were granted as of 1 November 2020, over 10,600 of them were granted for the firstborn.

According to Polyakova, citizens of the republic prefer investing the money received to improve their living conditions. More than 235,400 out of 265,500 certificates have been used as an instalment to purchase a flat, more than 23,400 have been used maternity capital for their children’s education. Over 3,500 people preferred a monthly payout when the second child was born.

Such areas as social adaptation and integration of disabled children into society became the most unpopular spheres — just one person used it in Tatarstan — as well as mother’s contributory pension with 65 people.

Not ready for contracts

Nevertheless, despite all provided benefits, 6,9% of the population, or 280,000 people in the republic, live below the poverty line. Moreover, Tatarstan is in the top 3 regions in this indicator. It turned out that large families are the most disadvantaged. How is this situation fixed? Butayeva explained that in 2020 they began with paying large families with five or more children so that their income reaches the living wage. If a family has a disabled child, the benefit is paid without any conditions, otherwise, through a social contract. It envisages that at least one parent must work or if a family has a parcel of land, it must be used to for harvest that later will be on the table.

“It is wrong to think that one can live on social support measures. It is support measures,” the vice minister stressed.

At the moment, only 35% of the families that signed a social contract have managed to cross the poverty threshold. They have increased their income level thanks to parents’ employment and social payouts.

Deputy Timur Shagivaleyev wondered how many families in the republic agreed to have contracts with the state. Only 10%, it turned out.

“We don’t have a queue for social contracts. In other words, we have to claim the fact that nowadays the grey labour market exists. A social contract offers bilateral commitments: the state pays a certain amount of money, moreover, the sums aren’t bad. If we sign a social contract and the terms of this contract include employment, if a person is employed, we pay him 10,000 rubles monthly while the social contract is in force. And even in such conditions, citizens don’t really want to get out of poverty,” the functionary explained.

She says that the ministry’s workers visited nearly 78% of the families on benefits, and not every family turned out to be needy. Butayeva explained such a paradox with the fact that incomes are hidden to get the benefits.

Go for payouts!

A similar situation is seen in the labour market as well. When the Russian government increased the unemployment benefit from 8,000 to 12,130 rubles during the pandemic and announced that 3,000 rubles would be paid for every child in the family that lost a job, thousands of citizens rushed to the employment agency. If the republic had 14,000 unemployed people at the beginning of the year, in September, the number reached 79,000. The payouts stopped on 1 October, there was an outflow, people began to sign out in the agency. Nowadays the republic has 65,000 unemployed people.

“Those who went to employment agencies, it is people who haven’t been working officially for a long time. It is workers of the grey labour market. They applied for payouts, not employment. Those who want to work find a job quickly. There are four vacancies for one unemployed person, there were 46,000 vacancies even during the toughest period,” Butayeva noted.

Stimulating natality

Ombudsman for Human Rights in the Republic of Tatarstan Sariya Saburskaya who was at the meeting was surprised at the age of mothers in the countryside who can get the benefits. It is necessary to have the first child before 25 years, and the third — before 29. Moreover, registry offices claim that brides’ average age shifted to 30 years.

The vice minister of Labour, Employment, and Social Protection of Tatarstan explained it was done deliberately to encourage women to have babies earlier and more. It is necessary to solve the demographic problem because natality in the republic has been falling in the last two years.

Saburskaya noted that the number of families that are desperate for having a baby naturally turn to in vitro fertilisation, while it is quite an expensive procedure. Moreover, some lucky people have managed to receive it at the state’s expense for several years already. The amount of free surgeries for needy women increases: they totalled 1,215 in 2016, 1,887 in 2019, this year, there have been done 1,587 procedures. 200 million rubles are allocated annually from the budget of the regional fund of compulsory medical insurance.

“We have no support measure in this area besides a one-time chance of in vitro fertilisation. However, it is not always possible to achieve a result at the first attempt. A lot of families suffer from this. I would like to ask you to consider supporting families who want to have a baby but their health doesn’t permit this,” Saburskaya urged the ministry.

Chairwoman of the Committee for Social Policy Svetlana Zakharova assured that the proposals discussed at the meeting would be considered in the committee’s resolution, including the organisation of summer holidays and meals for disabled children. Substitution of lunch boxes children receive at school for payouts will be considered because of parents’ numerous petitions. At least a corresponding letter has been sent to the Tatarstan president.

The main motive is that schools don’t have enough equipment to store products, this is why there are a lot of complaints about their quality.

By Eleonora Rylova. Photo: gossov.tatarstan.ru

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