Posted 1 июня 2021,, 15:30

Published 1 июня 2021,, 15:30

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Save yourself by yourself: the goal of social support in Russia is not to help the poor, but to the needy

Save yourself by yourself: the goal of social support in Russia is not to help the poor, but to the needy

1 июня 2021, 15:30
There are several thousand social programs in Russia, but at the same time only a small part of the budget of all social assistance is spent on targeted measures to support the poor.

Russian media and social networks are actively discussing the provisions of the new World Bank report on the economy of our country. Among other things, this report argues that the introduction of a minimum guaranteed income can reduce poverty in Russia, and that the poverty level in the country will decrease from 12.1% in 2020 to 11.4% in 2021:

“In 2018, Russia announced its intention to halve the poverty rate - from 13.2% to 6.6% by 2024. However, it is estimated that with an average annual economic growth of 1.5% by 2024, the share of the poor will only decline to 10.7%. And even with an increase of 3.2% per year (and this is the best scenario), the share of the population living below the poverty line will decline to only 8.2%, which does not ensure the achievement of the stated goal. Later, the deadline for achieving it was extended until 2030, but even in this case, while maintaining the existing conditions, it remains unattainable.

A national minimum guaranteed income (MIR) program can ensure that poverty alleviation goals are met and cost-effective. The cost of such a program would be about 0.33% of GDP, which is four times less than the cost of expanding the existing social support system in Russia. Such a program can be created on the basis of the current Russian social contract program..."

Economist Dmitry Prokofiev, analyzing this report, drew attention to extremely interesting figures:

“The Russian Federation spends 3% of GDP on social security systems, or $ 30 billion annually.

“This is more than other countries in the Europe and Central Asia region, where this figure is 2.2% of GDP”, - says WB.

At the same time, 1 ruble spent by the entire social assistance system in the Russian Federation provides a reduction in the “income deficit” of the poor by only 17 kopecks, says Worldbank (the income deficit is how much a household lacks to the “poverty line”)

That is, there are a lot of benefits, and a lot of money, but they go somewhere “wrong” or somehow “wrong”.

Worldbank offers to solve the problem through "basic income" (yes, with reservations, but this is it)

In the ideal WB model (based on data for 2019), the average income deficit of the poor in the Russian Federation was estimated at 2.8 thousand rubles. per month. If each such family received a payment in the amount of its income deficit, the estimated amount of budgetary spending on poverty eradication would have amounted to 530 billion rubles, according to Worldbank. Also, of course, the calculation is so-so - it turns out that in the Russian Federation "the price of the issue" in order to become poor from a beggar, you need only 40 dollars per family? Some kind of Africa.

Something is wrong.

The idea itself is understandable, the World Bank considers it according to the official data, but “by feeling” something is wrong. They seem to be spending a lot on social services. The problem of poverty cannot be solved. You can spend less, but "on business". But some very small amounts come out?

Or we don’t know something about the real incomes of people and the structure of the economy.

Or the goal of all social programs of the Russian Federation is some other (not the elimination of poverty, but the creation of the appearance of social assistance, just another type of executive business, for example). In general, we either go "wrong", or do "wrong"

Or both together..."

The expert found the answer to his bewilderment in one curious quote from this report:

“Unlike the systems of many other countries, assistance to the poor is not a priority in the Russian social support system. The poor, which accounted for 13% of the country's total population in 2018, received only 10% of social assistance payments.

This is the result of defining the main objectives of each program and the corresponding approaches to the provision of benefits and benefits. Poverty reduction is not a fundamental challenge for all social support programs. In Russia, most programs are focused on the use of categorical methods: recipients are selected based on their belonging to certain socio-demographic groups of the population, and each person belonging to one of these categories has the right to receive benefits and benefits provided for this category, regardless of the actual neediness.

With several thousand social programs in place, only a small fraction of the social assistance budget (0.4% of GDP) is spent on programs of targeted support for the poor, including a means test ”

I.e. The social support system of the Russian Federation does not aim to support the “poor”. It aims to support the "necessary" - that is, those who, for some reason, are needed by the authorities.

Now, if you "fall into the category" please go to the cashier. If not, blame yourself. This is how the Titanic first of all rescued first-class passengers, a little second, and third-class passengers could save themselves as they wanted.

True, on the Titanic, if a third-class passenger got to the boat, she was not prevented from getting into it. And here, if you are not included in the list of those who are "supposed" to blame, your poverty is not an argument in itself for the system to help you get out of it..."

And Kommersant observer Dmitry Drize is sure that Russia has come to a critical point:

“The World Bank proposes to Russia to apply more widely the so-called targeted program to combat poverty. Now the country spends $ 30 billion a year on social services, and poverty is practically not decreasing.

Why is targeting not working in Russia? It is difficult, costly, and this is the so-called “unpopular measure”. Besides, here you need to turn on the brains. Someone will have to be deprived of benefits, and someone, on the contrary, will be included in the lists. It requires qualified and - most importantly - expensive personnel of social services. It is clear that it is easier to take $ 30 billion, spread it all over and not make yourself an extra headache.

Everything would be fine, but the poor are getting smaller only on paper, and the treasury is decreasing in reality. Especially in the light of the constant populist ideas “to divide everything up and dispossess the rich”, all this taken together is fraught with further social instability, and then political consequences.

We are approaching the point when it will be necessary to decide: either real reforms, or the prospect of the 90s. You can call it in another way, whatever you like..."