Russian PM calls on government to go beyond ‘dry figures’ to address poverty

Russian PM calls on government to go beyond ‘dry figures’ to address poverty
The Russian government should do more to help its 19 million citizens living below the poverty line, said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He suggested providing better-targeted assistance to the poor than just statistics.

“Decisions on payments and benefits are made on the basis of dry figures. It's a standard data set, an impersonal picture. We need to make a more detailed social portrait of poverty in our country,” Medvedev told the heads of Russian regions on Friday.

The prime minister added that to help financially struggling people it is necessary to understand their needs and living conditions, health and education levels. Thus the social portrait will allow the government to understand how to help each person, like help in finding a job, getting an education, providing health services or helping open a small business.

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Earlier this week, Medvedev told the participants of the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi that the growth of national gross domestic product (GDP), which has recently reached a six-year peak, does little for ordinary people, who simply “don’t feel it.”

Last week, Russia’s state statistics agency reported that the country’s economy expanded 2.3 percent to $1.6 trillion in 2018. However, Economic Development Minister Maksim Oreshkin said that the factors that contributed to the economic growth were mostly in the spheres not affecting citizens’ livelihood, like oil production.

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