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Government Launches Massive Social Assistance Program

A massive social assistance program, through which more than half of the country”s population would benefit, has been launched, Davit Tkeshelashvili, the minister for healthcare and social welfare, said on October 17.

The one-time assistance program, he said, would involve a total of 2.8 million citizens of Georgia.

Speaking at a cabinet session, Tkeshelashvili pointed out that the 1.2 million citizens – pensioners, teachers and socially vulnerable people registered by the state – will receive GEL 50 for electricity and GEL 50 for gas payments. Those living in the rural areas, however, will receive GEL 50 and 50 kg of wheat flour.

The minister said that there were 70,000 teachers; 330,000 socially vulnerable people registered by the state and 800,000 pensioners in the country.

In addition, he said, assistance would also be granted to “all 700,000 families living in rural areas.” They, however, will receive only 50 kg of wheat flour.

The government has already proposed amendments to the 2007 state budget, including an extra GEL 92 million for the Ministry for Healthcare and Social Welfare to pay for the new assistance program. Parliament must first approve the measure.

The assistance program is called the “Presidential Program.” President Saakashvili visited a family of pensioners in Tbilisi on October 17 and personally handed them assistance coupons.

Opposition politicians have alleged that the authorities” decision to launch this one-time assistance program is a result of mounting pressure by the ten opposition parties, jointly campaigning for early parliamentary elections.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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