Not ‘mobilised’ budget: Tatarstan deputies propose to reduce spending on festive events and roads
“There is nothing about supporting our fighters in the budget at all. But we can collect first-aid kits for everyone within partial mobilisation from the republic at least," Eduard Sharafiev, a deputy of the State Council of Tatarstan, was indignant. At parliamentary hearings, the representatives of parliamentary factions alternately criticised the main financial document for being “detached from reality.” Tatarstan Prime Minister Aleksey Pesoshin called for calm: “It is probably impossible to foresee in advance the costs of the special military operation, for the provision of medical care immediately”. But he assured that, according to economic indicators, the republic is ahead of the curve. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
Who will treat the disabled after the special military operation?
Parliamentary hearings on the draft republican budget for 2023-2025, prepared in the conditions of the special military operation, went beyond the scope of routine discussion. The mobilisation campaign that began on September 21 forced the deputies to stop perceiving the special military operation in Ukraine as something very far from ordinary life. Anxious moods shifted the focus of attention of parliamentarians from the usual analysis of budget items to “mobilisation” spending. But whether they are in the treasury? What are the costs of providing medical care to the participants of the special military operation? What kind of support will the families of men who have gone to the front receive? What is the level of poverty in the republic and how to deal with it?
It seemed that the government of Tatarstan was preparing for any acute issues on financial security, but for some reason, just these pressing human issues “dropped out” from view. For example, the director of the State Institution “Territorial Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund of the Republic of Tatarstan”, Alsu Miftakhova, looked absolutely confused when she was asked if the Compulsory Health Insurance fund had funds to pay for the treatment of its participants.
“Now the burden on the CHI fund will increase, since disabled people and their relatives with exacerbation of various diseases are going to appear in the republic after the special military operation. Do you have any consideration in this regard?" the deputy of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan, Eduard Sharafiev, asked a question. This was the only thing that the chief administrator of the Tatarstan healthcare budget was asked about.
“Such a question has not been discussed, has not been considered," Alsu Miftakhova answered without hesitation. “In essence, we have a budget, and within this budget...” she didn't finish her thought.
The instant negative response shocked the deputy. “I would recommend that you discuss this," he was taken aback. “How so, we live in reality. Is the foundation detached from reality?!” Eduard Sharafiev exclaimed in bewilderment.
“But we formed it for that period," the presidium dryly explained to him, closing the discussion of this topic.
Why Tatarstan residents go for treatment to Chuvashia, Orenburg and Kirov
Then the deputies of the State Council plunged into the ordinary life of Tatarstan healthcare. Vice Speaker of the State Council Yury Kamaltynov asked why residents of the republic continue to go for the provision of high-tech assistance outside the Republic of Tatarstan.
“The amount of export of our money outside the republic does not change from year to year, but even grows," he stated. “Is it related to the specialisation that Moscow establishes for the placement of federal centres, or it is somehow related to the problem of our healthcare?
The director of the “Territorial Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund” did not hide that the outflow of patients is associated “with the organisation of medical care on the territory of the subject”. According to her, the majority of Tatarstan residents leave for the federal ophthalmological clinics of Chuvashia and Orenburg, and for the provision of qualified assistance in case of injuries — to the trauma centre of Kirov.
“Other subjects are interested in attracting patients from Tatarstan," Miftakhova explained, making it clear that it is impossible to refuse patients their choice.
“Do you have any opportunities to influence our healthcare system to be interested in keeping the money here?" Yury Kamaltynov continued to find out the reasons for the outflow of patients.
But Alsu Miftakhova had nothing to add.
“This is a question, rather, for the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan, which determines the routing of medical care in the regions of the republic," she explained.
“That is, there are no opportunities for you," the vice speaker of the Republic of Tatarstan guessed.
“We will work," promised the director of the Territorial Compulsory Healthcare Insurance Fund.
“With inflation at 13-14%, it feels like 20-25%"
Representatives of the Communists Party of Tatarstan were worried about low salaries and pensions of Tatarstan citizens, which are “eaten up” by high inflation in the country.
“With inflation at 13-14%, it feels like 20-25%," the deputy of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan, Fadbir Safin, bitterly joked.
He is seriously concerned that wages are lagging behind the pace of economic development.
“With the leadership in the pace of economic development, Tatarstan is in the fourth ten in terms of wages," he said. It also lags behind in terms of pensions. “In terms of the average size of pensions, we are inferior to Samara Oblast, Perm Krai, Kirov Oblast, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, and Udmurtia," he added. “And according to the minimum size of pensions, we occupy the last places from the end, along with Chuvashia," he was indignant.
According to him, a small increase in the wages of public sector workers supports the situation, but “there is no breakthrough”.
Then Fadbir Safin advocated the “mobilisation” of the budget and the optimisation of inappropriate expenses.
“New risks arise in connection with the implementation of the special military operation, which will make adjustments to the budget execution. It would be advisable to reduce spending on holidays, including the New Year. It would be possible to recommend companies with state participation to refuse dividends and transfer revenues to the budget of the republic," he suggested.
“If the breadwinner leaves on mobilisation, his family needs to be supported”
“I support, it is necessary to reduce the costs of festive events," the deputy of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan, Eduard Sharafiev, picked up.
He assessed the draft budget as “very good, balanced, with a small deficit, but aimed at development”. He saw its main drawback in the fact that the budget is not “mobilised” under the special military operation, does not meet the needs of citizens in the conditions of local combat actions.
“The speakers answered as if they only learned about the sanctions yesterday, as if they only learned about the special military operation yesterday," he noted. According to him, the budget should be adjusted to reduce unnecessary expenses, and to strengthen support for the families of the participants of the special operation.
For example, it is necessary to reduce the costs of the general plans of districts, since with the adoption of the new law, the costs will go in the trash. The speaker also doubted the validity of expenses of road fund for the construction of roads. According to the deputy, rural settlements build roads 2-3 times cheaper.
“We need to look at the expenses of the road fund. Rural settlements with self-taxation make asphalt roads, but two or three times cheaper. Why do we build roads so expensive from the fund?" he remarked.
In a word, Sharafiev summed up that the budget should be transferred to “wartime”:
“If the breadwinner is mobilised, then his family needs to be supported. And we need to support the districts, especially rural ones. It may be easier for Almetyevsk district to support such families, but it is difficult for small rural areas. But there is not even a thread in the budget.”
In addition, the speaker noted that he has been sending humanitarian supplies to the places of the special operation for a long time but is faced with the fact that “there is no single coordination headquarters”. “Everyone does what they can: someone — through party structures, someone — through public organisations, someone — through the Cabinet of Ministers, someone — through the president's office. Let's create a headquarters that would regulate all this. The support will come," Sharafiev said.
Tatarstan Prime Minister Alexey Pesoshin, who had been silent in the presidium until that moment, took the floor. First of all, he refuted the deputy's allegations. According to him, such headquarters has been created and all humanitarian supplies are collected in one place.
“There is probably a lack of information," said the prime minister. “Moreover, there are specific territories that receive assistance. If people have a desire to help someone else, we cannot forbid it, but we have all recommendations. If you want, we can include you in this headquarters, and you will have full information.
The head of the Government of Tatarstan assured that the mobilised are provided with equipment at the expense of the republic, since the federal authorities allow spending budget funds for these needs.
“The situation is changing rapidly. Probably, it is impossible to immediately foresee the costs of the special military operation, for rendering assistance. But nevertheless, we collected two battalions, up to equipment and first aid kits," Pesoshin concluded.
Deputy Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sergey Karpukhin, proposed to provide the mitigating measures for mobilised entrepreneurs and the self-employed in the budget, but they didn't answer him.