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What measures will help Yakutia reduce the number of poor people

In Yakutia, 2020 billion rubles will be allocated to combat poverty in 22,3. The measure, according to the authorities, will reduce the number of poor by 10-20 thousand people. Now, incomes below the subsistence level are 183,6 thousand people - 19% of the population of the republic. The reasons for this state of affairs and the possible ways to resolve it are in EastRussia material.


Causes of poverty

The main causes of poverty were called by the regional authorities the insufficient growth rate of the population’s cash incomes, the objectively high cost of living, as well as the high unemployment rate and the family ratio.

According to the data of 2018, cash incomes in the republic were 2,6 times different from the subsistence level (16 rubles). This indicator in the country is 667. The unemployment rate in the region, according to the same year, is 3,2% (6,9% for the country), the family ratio is 4,8 (2,9 for the country).

According to EastRussia, Doctor of Economics, professor at North-East Federal University, Tuyara Gavrilyeva, the poverty level in Yakutia is 1,5 times higher than the average in Russia. To eliminate poverty in the republic, 11,4 billion rubles are needed.

“If we correlate the amount with a number of macroeconomic indicators, then in 2018 this is 5,2% of the state budget of Yakutia, or 1,1% of GRP, or 2,5% of the cash income of the population of the republic. The order of numbers shows that when implementing a number of measures, and taking into account economic growth, which is higher than in most regions of Russia, we can achieve a two-fold reduction in poverty, to 9-9,5% of the population, by 2024 achievable, ”says the economist.


Social portrait of a poor Yakutian

The category of poor in Yakutia includes a large rural resident who works in the public sector or is engaged in agriculture. The average monthly income of his family is 45 thousand rubles. The largest number of low-income families live in the Arctic regions, where 24,3% of the population is in the register of those in special need. The economist Gavrilyev explains this phenomenon by the fact that the smaller the population of the settlement, the more poor it is. This is shown by state statistics. Moreover, it is highly likely that the Yakutians, whose income does not reach the subsistence level, are employed.

“Often the poor are busy, but having dependents: children and non-working family members. These include families with three children in which the total salary of parents is below 75-80 thousand rubles per month, ”explains Tuyara Gavrilyeva.

The poor category includes 23 thousand of 27 thousand large families of the republic. In addition, the poor can be attributed to the Yakutians at the age of 20-29 years who do not have vocational education. The lowest earnings are observed in rural and Arctic settlements, the highest - in industrial areas. The economist explains the differentiation in the level of wages in the region by the different profitability of production sectors.

How much the inhabitants of Yakutia have become poorer in ten years

Poor but happy

On the other hand, as Tuyara Gavrilyeva says, the problem of poverty is not so much in the level of income as in exclusion from the social environment.

“Social exclusion displaces people to the periphery of society, preventing them from fully participating in social, economic, cultural and political life. It has many dimensions: poverty, lack of basic competencies, limited employment and education opportunities, as well as insufficient access to public associations and events, ”the economist notes.

In her opinion, taking this into account, it is necessary to assess poverty comprehensively, as is done in Western countries, using the Multidimensional Poverty Index, the material deprivation index and the social exclusion index, as well as a combination of all these approaches in the form of the AROPE index (At Risk Of Poverty Or Social Exclusion, AROPE).

Within the framework of the project “Comparative analysis of income generation sources and the problem of poverty in traditional communities of the northern regions of Russia, the USA and Canada”, the research group conducted a survey among representatives of 500 rural households located in the central, district, northern and industrial regions of Yakutia. The villagers called vital for themselves the issues of improvement and quality of housing (92% of respondents), limited access to narrow-profile medical facilities, and the quality of medical services (75%), the possibility of building or acquiring the desired housing (71%), the impossibility of going on vacation (50%) , lack of Internet (46%). In addition, they are concerned about the opportunity to give children higher education (42%) and the availability of jobs (41%).

Many villagers noted that 16-17% of their income depends on subsistence farming. Hunting, fishing and picking berries are also helpful for the family budget. In difficult situations, by their own admission, residents of the republic rely on the help of relatives.

“One of our features is the ability to rely on the help of relatives, friends, the community as a whole. Another feature is that the elderly parents live in the families of adult children. In general, about 90% of respondents are satisfied with their life, ”emphasizes Tuyara Gavrilyeva.


According to respondents, in order for the poor to become fewer, it is necessary:

- increase wages to 50-70 thousand rubles (34,7%);

- increase pension (18,8%);

- increase social payments (17,8%);

- engage in the development of infrastructure and agriculture, reduce fuel prices and utilities tariffs (23,3%);

- create additional jobs, develop entrepreneurship (18,3%).


Progressive bid

The government of Yakutia plans to allocate 2024 billion rubles to combat poverty until 137, of which 22,3 billion this year. The measure, according to regional authorities, will reduce by four years the number of poor in the republic by half. In addition to providing targeted financial assistance to large families, the government will continue to implement the projects “Local personnel in industry”, “Employment in the countryside”, and also plans to create ten thousand new jobs in the non-primary sector of the economy.    

The poverty alleviation solutions proposed by research economists in the short term are largely consistent with government measures. At the same time, experts suggest increasing the amount of benefits for low-income families with children, stimulating the development of social entrepreneurship, expanding grant support for non-profit organizations that can take on the collection of money, clothes, shoes for the needy, and repairing their housing. In the medium term, experts suggest, based on data analysis, including Big Data, to develop criteria for need.

“Until now, the region does not have a sufficiently complete register of the really needy. Not all the poor are, if we recall the non-transparency of the real income of a particular family for the state and a rather significant share of the shadow sector in the economy. This can be tracked as part of the integration of various databases, including property, transport, ”said Tuyara Gavrilyeva.

In her opinion, the results will help to evaluate the effectiveness of social assistance from budgets of various levels.

“For Yakutia, and more specifically for communities with a high level of poverty, isolated, small settlements in the Arctic, it is important to conduct a social experiment to pay unconditional basic income by analogy with rental payments in Alaska. They show good results in third world countries, where the share of the population employed in traditional economic activity is high. But these experiments must be prepared, since they have a number of risks, ”says the expert.

In the long term, according to Gavrilieva, a transition to a progressive taxation scale is inevitable. The flat personal income tax rate of 2001%, introduced in Russia back in 13, is no longer relevant.

“At the time of introduction, it was an absolutely justifiable measure; many economic entities came out of the shadows and began to pay white wages. But now we need a different model, this is required by the continuing growth of social inequality in Russia, ”Tuyara Gavrilyeva said.

According to the economist, for the Russians to begin to regard the progressive taxation scale as a tax on social solidarity and to perceive it as the help of more successful people less successful, it will take years and efforts of the federal government.

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