New restrictions on Ministry of Labour grants
Changes in the rules for awarding grants that involve a transition to a more structured approach to the disbursement of federal budget funds were introduced this year. Under the revised arrangements, grant recipients will not be allowed to spend more than 50% of the total amount on labour costs, salary payments to employees as prescribed in law and general business expenses. The new financial rules were brought in following representations made by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation. The All-Russian Society for the Blind has called for this restriction to be lifted.
The Federation’s Ministry of Labour and Social Protection has signed agreements to provide grants to 21 organisations, according to a statement published on the Ministry’s website. These include subsidies for ensuring implementation of “collaborative mechanisms involving State agencies and individual public organisations that introduce both innovative social know-how to improve integrated medical and social rehabilitation of the disabled, as well as assisting in the development of the material and technological framework”.
The All-Russian Society for the Blind (RSB) has said that the introduction of the new rules has led to serious difficulties in maintaining the necessary level of funding for its rehab facilities. Lydia Abramova, RSB’s Vice-President, told Rossiskaya Gazeta that work had been suspended at their major rehab centre in Volokolamsk and in two of its units in Biysk and Zheleznogorsk.
In an interview with Miloserdie.ru, Abramova stated that the new subsidy rules place her Society’s rehabilitation centres on a par with “other public bodies such as trade unions or veteran associations… Restrictions that place a 50% limit on the amount of money that can be spent on wages and expenses do not take account of the special needs of our centres which are the only ones in Russia that provide residential care for the partially sighted, or of our unique guide dog training school”, Abramova added.
The Ministry of Labour has stated that project agreements with the Russian guide dog training school and the Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind are currently being drawn up internally for the Ministry’s signature. As a result, the guide dog training school will receive 68,500,000 roubles from the federal budget during 2016, with the rehab centre allocated 139,000,000 roubles from the same source (the size of grants is similar to that received during 2015). However, the signing of these agreements is not the end of the story, said Abramova. “We’re not asking for additional funding. What we want is the removal of the 50% financial limit imposed on salaries and general expenses”, she added.
Abramova also said that she intends to raise RSB’s concerns about the new financial rules with Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister, Maxim Topilin, Minister of Labour and Social Protection and the Presidential Commission for the Disabled.
Author: Georgy Ivanushkin