Welfare benefit recipients to be supported under 13th anti-crisis action
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A Cabinet meeting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
The Government approved the 13th action aimed at curbing the economic impact of COVID-19, which provides for assistance to disadvantaged families facing welfare problems due to the spread of coronavirus. Beneficiaries are about 85 thousand families entitled to family and social benefits as of April 2020.
Assistance is provided to each family at the rate of 50% of the allowance received, 70% of that amount is available in the form of a cash payment together with the payment of the benefit due for April; 30% is transferred as a payment for electricity consumed in the period under review. In case the beneficiary is not a utility subscriber, the amount is provided to the beneficiary.
The total amount of assistance is 1.2 billion drams. The second component of the transfer will be made directly to the utility operator on behalf of the customer. In case of overdue bills the money so transferred will be used to pay off the arrears, otherwise it will be deemed as an advance payment.
The Government made changes to the 3rd, 8th and 9th activities in an effort to expand the scope of beneficiaries.
The Premier referred to the criticism voiced in connection with the failure to support those employed on a day-to-day basis: “We are criticized for not providing assistance to unregistered workers with a daily pay, but we believe that the 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th activities and this one as well actually imply indirect assistance for at least 90%, if not 100%, of those employed on a day-to-day basis, considering that we thereby help them care for their children’s needs and settle the outstanding gas and electricity bills. We anticipate that the daily workers may get into one or even two of the aforementioned 5 categories.”
To overcome the challenges aimed at preventing the spread of the new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) and assisting the healthcare system, the Government passed a decision, which suggests providing 90 million drams to Engineering Association NGO without a tender as a grant for design and feasibility study pertaining to the production of lung ventilators. Under this facility, the Engineering Association undertakes to explore the proposed innovative ideas, get into touch with all interested individual engineers, university labs, as well as with engineering and production companies with a view to discussing new ideas, proposals and opportunities for cooperation. Prototype design, laboratory tests, adjustment of the project of system, working out of 5 samples, registration of the design documentation of devices of IVL, providing process of achievement of a full production cycle will be organized.
The reference note says that the Ministry of High-Tech Industry has announced a competition of ideas on the design, implementation, full or partial production of ventilators, and received more than 280 applications and proposals.
Stressing the importance of the decision, Nikol Pashinyan noted: “We happen to spend hours discussing issues of 20 thousand, 10 thousand, 5 thousand drams, but I do believe that other topics should stand high on our agenda. On the way to tackling this issue we must state that education, science, industry is what matters most: this is set out in the list of our government’s strategic priorities. I wish us all firm determination, wisdom and consistency so that we could change the agenda, including that of individual communities, institutions, entities and families. This is perhaps what we should be able to implement first of all.”