State to save on students and pensioners

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Students, pensioners and invalids will have to forget about benefits for public transport tickets soon. Even Chernobyl disaster liquidators will remain without all their benefits. 1st and 2nd invalid groups will no longer have a discount for their phone bills. Children under the age of three will not have the right for free medicine. 3rd invalid group will be devoid of the 50% discount for medicine… These are the state’s plans about benefits cancellation.

Journalists even asked the President about it. Alyaksandr Lukashenka claimed that there was no way back at the conference on April 12. According to him, only the benefits introduced in the Stalin time will be cancelled. But it turned out to be a bit different…

The deputy head of the Commission on labour, social protection and protection of veterans and invalids of the House of Representatives Valery Lektarau says:

“5 millions out of 9.5 million Belarusians have benefits. What budget can survive it? Benefits for medicine should only be given to people who depend on them. For example, schizophrenics, epileptics, diabetics, rheumatics, etc. The others should pay for it.

If somebody gets drunk, jumps into the water and catches flu, why should the state pay for their medicine? I worked as a loader to earn some money when I was a student.

Walk across Minsk today, you will see a lot of empty beer and vodka bottles. Groups of 10-15 students are drinking beer. Why should the state pay for their tickets? They might as well walk.

I am in the district today and I see that pensioners wander around the city, using public transport day and night. Where are they going? They must pay!”

The Belarusian Association of Invalids is against the adoption of the new law. The head of the association’s administration Uladzimir Patapenka thinks that such changes violate people’s constitutional rights. They even complained to the Constitutional Court.  Uladzimir Patapenka answers the question whether those benefits are necessary:

“They were very useful. In some way they compensated for the lack of state guarantees for invalids. Especially free public transport tickets or special transport for invalids. Discount for medicine also compensated for the small disability pension”.

What will the saved money be spent for? Valery Lektarau says:

“I do not know. But it was said that the money will be spent to help people who really needed help. The country cannot afford giving benefits to everyone today. The salary and pension should be high enough not to need benefits”.

It is still not clear how the students are going to survive without the 50% discount for public transport tickets when the average scholarship is about 90 thousand BRB. ERB talked to Alesya, a student of the Belarusian State Pedagogical University. She lives in Pinsk District and she told us what it will mean for her:

“As far as I understand, the state is trying go get more money for the budget, but I think every country has special sources to fill the budget in order to keep benefits for public transport tickets.

If the law is adopted I will visit my relatives less often. My ticket is not free. It costs 19 thousand BRB  - 8 thousand BRB with the 50% discount. That is till Ivanava. And I have to pay for the trip back too. So it will cost me 40 thousand BRB. It means I will be able to go home only once in 6 months”.

Taking into account the fact that a month ticket for all kinds of public transport costs 50 thousand BRB it is hard to guess what is to remain of the scholarship then...

APPENDIX:

1st invalid group:
– 50% discount for phone bills (the discount was given to invalids who lived with incapable family members);
– 50% discount for fare in the country from October 1 till May 15 and one trip at any other time;
– free installation of a phone out of turn (or with a discount);
– invalids’ family members will be devoid of the benefit giving them a discount of paying for only 20 square meters of accommodation.
3rd invalid group:
– 50% discount for medicine;
– free tooth replacement.
Handicapped children:
– 50% discount for fare throughout the country;
– yearly compensation for transport services for people having problems with kidneys.

Chernobyl disaster liquidators will be devoid of all benefits.
Handicapped liquidators:
– free prescribed medicine;
– free travelling from home to hospital or rehabilitation centres;
– free travelling across the country once a year;
– people living with working relatives are devoid of the 50% discount for public utilities;
– expenses for caring for lonely invalids will not be compensated;
– paid sick leaves for people caring for invalids during their recovery from illness;
– interest-free loan for building houses and flats and a 50% discount covered by budget money;
– yearly payments for recovery;
– relatives of dead handicapped liquidators will also be deprived of benefits.

Pupils and students:
– 50% discount for fare in city transport;
– 50% discount for travelling across the country from October 1 till June 30 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Internal students will lose the 50% discount for all tickets given out in the period of winter breaks for all week-days from January 1 till the last day of February.
Children:
– children under the age of 3 will be deprived of free medicine.

Veterans of labour:
– free medicine for people over the age of 70;
– free tooth replacement;
– 50% discount for fare in city transport.

Former prisoners of fascist camps, prisons and ghetto:
– free prescribed medicine;
– 50% discount for fare in city and suburban transport. Rural area inhabitants will be deprived of the discount in their regions;
– free trip across the country once a year;
– 50% discount for public utilities for invalids and incapable family members living with them;
– 50% discount for phone bills.
People living in the contaminated area:
– free prescribed medicine;
– free boarding at kindergartens and summer schools for children;
– 100% more help to children from poor families;
– 100% payment to parents of sick children if they had to stay with them during their sanatorium-and-spa treatment;
– free meals for pupils and vocational schools and colleges’ students.

People living in the contaminated area having a right to be settled elsewhere:
– deprived of all benefits except free sanatorium-and-spa treatment for children, free trips in suburban and city transport throughout Belarus to the place of recovery and rehabilitation. Benefits for parents having children under the age of 3 will remain 150%.

Blood-donors:
– 50% discount for medicine;
– free tooth replacement.

War invalids:
– free trips in air, water and auto transport once a year. A 50% discount is introduced;
– family members are deprived of benefits for public utilities.

Almost all invalids will be deprived of a compensation for transport service and petrol.

According to www.bulletinonline.org