Georgia: a battle for the old fighters02.02.2010 | 22:38
An action against "social injustice and suppression" was held in front of the Georgian parliament today. It was organized by leader of the Kartuli Dasi party Jondi Bagaturia and was held by the Georgian pensioners. The parliamentarian demands that the authorities should increase the amount of pension up to the living minimum wage of 150 laris and provide the pensioners with medical insurance. Will the current authorities hear Bagaturia's appeal?
The minimum pension size in Georgia is 80 laris, while according to some appraisals, the living minimum wage is 150 laris. Besides, the retirement age is 60 years old for women and 65 years old for men. The last 5-lari pension increase was in November. The minimum pension amount increased from 75 to 80 laris for the handicapped people having a status of an invalid and it grew from 65 to 70 laris for the handicapped persons having no such status. There is also a supplementary pension for the length of service (5.7 or 10 laris) which is added to the standard pension depending on the number of years served. According to Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Care, as of October 2009, there were 641 thousand pensioners and over one hundred thousand handicapped
people in Georgia.
On his part, Jondi Bagaturia believes that his initiative will help "avoid starvation" of more than two million citizens of the country. For the first time, he introduced his idea last November. The parliamentarian developed his own scheme of increasing the pension up to the living wage. Bagaturia offered a full-scale project implying the growth of pension in three stages, 25 laris at each stage. "Two million citizens are close to poverty and the pensioners receive two times less than the living wage, while the president and the executive authorities are wagging finger at us", - he stated then.
Two months passed but Bagaturia was never heard. Nevertheless, the parliamentarian is not going to give up. His party, Kartuli Dasi, has already sent its proposals to the country parliament. It is expected that the delegates will consider them within a month in the course of the spring session which is going to be opened today, as MTRK Mir reports.
Moreover, one of these days Bagaturia held consultations with the Christian Democrats party in order to join around the initiative and got a positive answer. According to leader of the Christian Democrats Georgiy Targamadze, his movement is going to support the package, so long as the pensioners are put under severe conditions, as GHN reports. "Insurance companies refuse to insure pensioners, while the state takes no care about them, - Targamadze stated. - These issues are beyond the context of the narrow party interests, for they concern thousands of people in need".
The Georgian pensioners hope that Jondi Bagaturia's appeals supported by Georgiy Targamadze will be heard. "The authorities should pay attention to us in the first instance. To improve our life, we must have normal medical insurance", - a woman-pensioner from Tbilisi underlined. Another elderly man confessed that one cannot even think of buying any medicines considering the amount of the pension, for the pension was increased simultaneously with the price growth.
Thus, the situation in the pension field in Georgia is complicated indeed; however, it looks like the authorities seem to suspend the settlement of the old men's problems, or just pay no attention to them. GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked Executive Secretary of the New Rights party Manana Nachkebia whether Bagaturia will be able to focus the authorities' attention upon his initiative: "I believe that, unfortunately, the draft project will not be passed by the Georgian parliament, although it really corresponds to the current requirements of our people and, first of all, our old-aged pensioners. This is attributed to the fact that the ruling National Movement party does not agree with the living wage amount of 150 laris. Nevertheless, it is good that the action is held and it is good that Kartuli Dasi and the Christian Democrats have got an initiative like that".
Manana Nachkidze has also underlined that there have been no significant changes in the pension field since the Soviet times and the times of President Shevardnadze. "Despite the fact that the pension has grown during the recent years, inflation goes on faster, - she pointed out. - Thus, at present, the prices for all the products have grown ten percent, that is why the pensioners are facing a tough situation".