Development of targeted social assistance programs in Altai Republic

Publication date
Saturday, 28.09.2002

Authors
V. Soptsov O. Shakhnazarov N. Pakhtschanyan

Series
CEPRA

Annotation
Contemporary Russian social assistance has several major disadvantages. One of them is declaring about 70 per cent of the population eligible for social aid. In Soviet Russia basic needs were provided by a number of Government agencies and ministries like The State Planning Committee, The State Prices Committee, the State Labor Committee, the Ministry of Trade, etc. People could not become rich (legally), but they were also saved the hardships of poverty. While the huge state machine catered for basic needs the social assistance per-formed numerous but not costly duties of little significance. The situation has changed in the 90s. The Government has lost the leverage of the predecessor and has not created any substitute of its own. The economy has entered in a state of transition with no inbuilt regulators. Basic needs have been left unattended. The social assistance keeps on providing aid, which on the one hand exceeds the lim-its of the available budget, on the other hand has no vital significance for the re-cipients jus as before the reforms. As a result quite a few of the social assistance obligations became sheer declarations, which makes good reason for the oppo-nents of the reforms to substantiate their position. Another deficiency is rooted in the indiscriminate character of the social as-sistance. The absence of selectivity was no hindrance in the days when the Gov-ernment kept under a stringent control economic activity of the population, when there were no opportunities and disadvantages of the market economy, when ca-reers and incomes were predictable. The innumerous elite (less than 1 percent of the population) lived its life of abundance behind a veil of secrecy. Others were more or less equal. The significance of wages and salaries was purposefully di-minished in favor of goods and services in kind from the so called "public con-sumption fund". The poverty problem was dealt with ignoring incomes by guar-anteeing minimum consumption directly through various non-market institutions. The "Soviet rich" and the "Soviet poor" could live door to door in likewise apartments, eat the same food (with some exclusions), have neighboring cottage houses, use the same public transport or even drive the same brand of cars, if any. It is no longer so but the social assistance keeps on providing aid as if nothing has changed.

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Notes

Editor: N. Glavatskaya
Page setting V. Yudichev
ISBN 5-93255-096-1
The research and the publication were undertaken in the framework of CEPRA (Consortium for Economic Policy, Research and Advice) project funded by the Canadian Agency for International Development (CIDA)



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