The Self-Reliance Program in Russia in the 2000s The Self-Reliance Programs were implemented for the purpose of improving the quality of life of low-income families with children in rural areas. Such programs are usually aimed at rendering target assistance in development of subsidiary husbandry or self-employment in rural areas. Apart from rendering assistance to households, the main objective of such programs consists in activation of the labor potential of the household, removal of barriers on the way to labor activities by able-bodies members of the family (rendering of services as regards training and retraining, child care and other) and creation of sustained employment (normally selfemployment) of able-bodied members of the family. Families without able-bodied members did not normally receive assistance under such programs.
Rendering of assistance under the programs is carried out on the basis of agreements with beneficiaries of such programs. Under the above agreements, beneficiaries are obligated to fulfill certain conditions as regards, primarily, purpose utilization of the received fund. A specific feature of such programs is a personified approach to beneficiaries (development of a plan of actions for the family as regards movement to self-reliance, determination of the form of the purpose assistance which is required to a specific family and conclusion of an agreement with the family), though the family is not assigned a personal advisor who monitors fulfillment by the family of an individual agreement.
Engagement of local communities in such programs helped select families more efficiently: local communities participated in evaluation of the family’s potential, plan of actions towards self-reliance (to what extent such a plan was a realistic one) and other.
The number of families which took part in the above programs was not a large one; it varied from 38 families in one district of the Amur Region in 2007 to over 4,500 families in the Perm Region in 2004. Most families engaged mostly in subsidiary husbandry, while some, in self- employment.
See, for instance, A.N. Demin, I.P. Popova. (2000), Methods of Adjustment of the Unemployed to Difficult Life Situation //Sociological Research.2000. No.5; N.V. Popravko (2009), The Social Aspects of the Unemployment Problem in the Tomsk Region. Bulletin of Tomsk State University. Philosophy. Sociology. Political Science. 2009, No.1 (5).
In the 2000 – 2001 period, such a program was implemented in the Motovilikhinsky District of Perm. One hundred families took part in that program. Later, the above program was implemented in all the seven districts of Perm (350 households), twelve other cities of the Perm Region (1100 households), as well as in the city of Birobidzhan of the Jewish Autonomous Region (15 households).
The Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Komi (2004).
Social Sphere Evaluation of efficiency of such programs, for instance, in the Perm Territory showed that the quality of life of families which received assistance improved and all the families received income (in kind or in a cash form) which was on average higher than the amount of aid granted.
The source: Е.Е. Grishina, К.G. Chagin (2008), Technology of the Target Social “Self-Reliance” Assistance: The Guidelines for Introduction by Local and Regional Administrations. Мoscow.: The Institute of City Economy Fund.
Social contracts (introduced from the year 2010) are the first experiment at the nationwide level (even taking into account the fact that the system of social contracts is not implemented in all the constituent entities of the Russian Federation) as regards provision of social assistance to families which have found themselves in a difficult life situation on the basis of the following principles:
• Conclusion of an agreement between the family and the authority which provides assistance. According to officials who work for authorities which are responsible for implementation of the system of social contracts, the sheer fact that the family has assumed obligations and a representative of the family has signed an agreement on his/her consent to fulfillment by the family of a number of conditions has a positive effect on beneficiaries.
Introduction of provisions stipulating purposes which the assistance is rendered for, monitoring of the progress in fulfillment of such purposes and issuing of a warning that the agreement may be terminated in case of a failure by the family to fulfill its obligations properly, while the assistance that was wrongfully received is required to be returned contribute (in the opinion of officials who deal with social contracts) to beneficiaries’ higher awareness of their responsibilities.
• Participation of the entire family in the social contract contribute to raising of responsibility of each family member both for fulfillment of the program of social adaptation and provision of the reliable information on the position of the family;
• Introduction of such forward obligations on the part of the family regarding the exit from difficult life situations as include a commitment to engage able-bodied family members in labor activities. In general, social assistance programs include inactive measures of support to families and individuals;
• Within the frameworks of a social contract, the family’s progress is followed up by an employee of the system of social contracts who is assigned to that family. No matter how formal such a follow-up may be at the initial stage, the above measure is an important step to utilization of present-day methods of and approaches to rendering of the social assistance and inclusion of the able-bodied people in employment;
• Substantial amounts of the aid (by Russian regions’ and municipalities’ standards) to lowincome families and families which found themselves in difficult life situations may be provided.
Inclusion of the able-bodied family members in the labor market and, the more so, ensuring of sustained employment for them on the basis of social contracts is quite a problem now.
As seen from foreign experience, for actual inclusion of the unemployed in the employment market it is required to have and/or create jobs and carry out an in-depth analysis of employment opportunities and barriers which prevent access to it by each able-bodied beneficiary of the program. A program of measures aimed at inclusion of able-bodied family members into employment, personified follow-up of the process of activation of each unemployed person into employment, tough sanctions for a failure to comply with the terms of the contract, as RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks well as monitoring and evaluation of the efficiency of the activation program should be based on the above analysis.
At present, it appears that a large part of able-bodied beneficiaries of the program of social contracts in the Russian Federation will be engaged in development of individual subsidiary husbandry and, partially, in self-employment. Such a situation is related to a greater extent to a high burden of the unemployed population on one vacant job. Also, regional economic differentiation and smaller employment opportunities in less developed constituent entities of the Russian Federation in a situation where both labor mobility and implementation of the program at the level of a constituent entity are rather low will reduce the extent of employment opportunities.
Ensuring of sustained employment (say, that level of employment which was achieved in the course of fulfillment of the program and prevailed for at least 12 months) is not provided for by the program of social contracts, which fact may have a negative effect on the trend of inclusion of the unemployed in employment under the above program, either.
So far, there is no data available on the outputs of the above program. The program is supposed to have a small coverage due to a lack of budgetary funds for social policy in constituent entities of the Russian Federation. However, efforts to cover with social contracts as many families as possible will result in reduction of the amount of the aid which situation does not help families to solve their problems, either.
The available data points to a small coverage of the program now. For instance, in ten months of 2010 in the Tomsk Region 48 social contracts were concluded (including 35 contracts with families having young children)1; by October 2010 in the Perm Territory only nine social contracts were concluded2.
The amount of the aid under social contracts varies by the region. For instance, in the Primorski Krai the amount of the aid under social contracts amounted to RUR 40,000 to RUR 150,000 (the total amount of aid was about RUR 800,000 which means that the average amount of the aid was at the level of around RUR 89,000 per family). In the Samara Region, in accordance with the regional legislation the amount of the aid under a social contract should not exceed RUR 25,000.
The above amounts of the aid appear substantial as compared to the regular amounts of the social aid3 in regions where it is provided to low-income individuals and families who are not included in the category of federal or regional recipients of privileges. The point is whether those funds are sufficient enough to implement the program of social adaptation of families and raise the quality of their life.
The Social Security Department of the Tomsk Region (2010), The Social security in the Tomsk Region, Material assistance creates mutual obligations.
RIA Novosti (2010), The first social contracts were concluded in Kamchatka, 12/10/2010.
In 2009, in the Samara Region a non-recurrent cash payment to individuals who found themselves in a difficult life situation amounted to RUR 2,700 per beneficiary, while in the Primorski Krai, to RUR 2,400. In 2009, a non-recurrent cash payment to low-income individuals in the Primorski Krai amounted to RUR 600 per member of the low-income family. The Federal Service of the State Statistics of the Russian Federation (2009), Implementation of Measures of Social Support of Individual Categories of People in 2009.
Social Sphere 5.3. Migration process In 2010, one of the most significant events was an All-Russia population census. According to the Regulations on Census, the following persons are subject to census, besides the Russian citizens:
- Russian and foreign citizens and stateless persons who came to Russia from abroad to study or work for 1 year and for a longer period (regardless of how long they have stayed in Russia and how long they intend to stay in Russia);
- Persons whose permanent residence is outside Russia and who stay in the Russian Federation for a short period (up to one year);
Thus, migrants both “residents” (who have come to Russia for a long or permanent residence) and “non-residents” (who have come to Russia to study or to work) had to be counted alongside with the citizens of Russia.
Preliminary census results were as follows: 143.2 million of census forms were filled in for the national residents and 285,000 census forms for the citizens of other countries who have stayed in Russia for less than one year 1. Whatever the final results, it is obvious that this census (as the previous one) was not effective in terms of counting temporary residents. 285,is not a large number given that according to the expert estimates, in 2009 the number of employed migrants was about 3.2 – 5.2 million2.
Two conclusions can be drawn regarding the undercount of migrants during the census:
- First, Russia as before has no real data on the number of migrants;
- Second, with such undercount of migrants, the population size of the country or some of its regions and/or cities (especially, large cities) can be easily adjusted upwards if desired.
So far, according to the current data, as of November 1, 2010, the number of residents in Russia was 141.8 million having decreased by 82,400 (0.06%) from the year beginning. In the similar period of 2009, a slight increase of the population was recorded (by 12,000 or 0.008%). Thus, the dynamic trend of the population size continues making familiar “leaps”.
Changes in the natural loss (growth by 9.1pp vs the previous year) and migration growth (reduction by 36.2 pp) have resulted in no substitution of the loss by migration growth unlike in 2009. The growth compensated 61.9% of the natural loss. It is worth mentioning that we are talking about the “formal” substitution while in reality each year the migration surplus includes those migrants who have moved to Russia much earlier while the natural loss of the population is counted strictly on the actual data basis.
It should be acknowledged that the reduction of the number of able-bodied persons gives more concerns than the reduction of the total size of the population of Russia. Such reduction was observed in 2006 for the first time in the Soviet and Russian history. Since then, a negative growth has been recorded. In 2009, the employable population reduced by 973,000 persons while in 2010 – by another 769,000 3. According to a moderate (close to conservative) forecast, the number of the able-bodied individuals will drop by 9.1 million during 2011 Yu. Khomchenko. We do not know how many people live in the territory of the country// News Time, December 3, 2010.
Main results of the expert meeting “Consensus –estimates of the number of the migrant workers in Russia” April 3, 2010// Center for Ethno-political and regional research under CEPRI Project ”Immigration to Russia: a social parameter” jointly with Project of “New EuroAsia Foundation “A migration barometer in the Russian Federation”// http: www.indem.ru/Ceprs/Migration/ExSoCoOc.htm Estimated number of population of the Russian Federation of 2010. Rosstat, 2010..
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