RUSSIA- A COUNTRY WHICH HAS SET STRATEGIES FOR ITS OWN DEVELOPEMENT IS STILL TO GO A LONG WAY
In order to ensure the appropriate progress in the political system as well as the standard of life of different countries, World leaders from different countries conducted a meeting from 6 September to 8 September 2000 at the United Nations headquarters in New York . This meeting is well known as the ‘Millennium Summit’ as the United Nations established and proposed the Millennium Development Goals through interaction and taking into consideration the different perspectives and needs of different countries.
There are 8 Millennium Development Goals that each country is expected to achieve by 2015. After taking into consideration the development need by each country, each nation has followed different strategies to slowly and steadily achieve the goals as it is aimed at by the ‘Millennium Summit’.
( p.s- I have referred to news articles of 2012 of Russia, Millebium Development goals report of 2010 of Russia and interacted with Miss Tanya Fernandes- an MBBS student stdying in Russia)
Goals that each and every country including Russia needs to aim at are as follows:
1. REDUCE POVERTY AND ERADICATE HUNGER
a. Halve by 2015 the general poverty level and eradicate extreme poverty among non-marginal groups of the population.
b. Provide access to food for the poor.
This was the first goal Russia put up in its list of aims to be achieved by this country. In 2005, Human Development Report, issued by UNDP defined the features of Russia in two different categories :
a. Russia, while being a country with average development level, has not been able to banish extreme types of poverty;
b. Extreme poverty is not a mass phenomenon, and ‘poverty’ in Russia usually refers to wealth standards, which are higher than those associated with absolute definitions of poverty.
According to the Millennium Development Goals Report of 2010 it had measured this aim by measuring:
Target 1, ‘Halve, by 2015, the proportion of ‘extremely poor people’. Success should be measured by the following progress indicators:
• Proportion of people living on less than $11a day;
• Proportion of people living on less than $2.152 a day.
Target 2. ‘Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people suffering from hunger’. Success should be measured by the following progress indicators:
• Proportion of undernourished people;
• Proportion of undernourished families among all families with children.
Progress indicators for reduction of poverty measured against the national poverty line.
• Proportion of people with incomes less than the minimum subsistence level (criterion of general poverty);
• Proportion of people with incomes less than 50% of the minimum subsistence level (criterion of extreme poverty);
Even though the different criteria were set to fulfil this aim, the poverty in certain spheres of Russia hasn’t been able of Vanish away. According to ‘FORBES- online Magazine’, Mr Kenneth Rapoza reported that ‘The number of Russians living in poverty rose another 1.1% last year to a total of around 13% of the population, or 18.1 million living below the national poverty line, government statistical agency Rosstat reported on Thursday’. This in fact proves that how in the present day and age of 2012, Russia has not been able to achieve its first goal in the real sense. According to elected President Vladimir Putin , there’s a vast difference in the income earned by the rich and the poor. As mentioned in the Forbes as well as prvda.ru news website, statistically, Russia’s current minimum wage is about 4,600 roubles ($155) per month, while the minimum cost of living per capita is around 6,200 roubles ($210). This actually proves that due to unequal distribution of income to the employees, poverty hasn’t disappeared at all.
Mostly when one thinks of poverty, we picturise beggars on the street as it is a common scene in India, so with regards to this mental picture of poverty and beggars going hand in hand with the concept, I preferred to interact with Tanya Fernandes, a MBBS student in Russia, she said “ There are no beggars as such in Russia.” This actually made this student think that Poverty isn’t a problem in Russia. But if we consider the reports and statistics of Poverty, it does exists in this country.
2. INCREASE ACCESS TO EDUCATION
c. Involve vulnerable groups of the population in education and socialization.
d. Ensure participation in pre-school education of children from low-income families and children residing in rural areas.
e. Reduce the gap in funding and access to general secondary and primary vocational education between and within regions.
f. Update the content of general secondary education towards developing practical skills and application of knowledge.
g. Improve compliance of vocational education with the modern economic environment and labour market requirements.
This goal is achieved by Russia to a greater extent infact. According to Russian Craft, ‘Education in Russia is compulsory up to the 9th form inclusive. The stages of compulsory schooling in Russia are: primary education for ages 6-7 to 9-10 inclusive; and senior school for ages 10-11 to 12-13 inclusive, and senior school for ages 13-14 to 14-15 inclusive. If a pupil of secondary school wishes to go on in higher education, he or she must stay at school for two more years. Primary and secondary school together comprise 11 years of study. Every school has a “core curriculum” of academic subjects.’ This shows that Russia makes sure that necessary compulsory education is provided to its students irrespective of the institution each student belongs to. There are even state scholarships and grants offered, which in a way encourages students to go for further studies. This in a way helps in reasoning out an alternative initiative. In the sense that even if poverty is a major issue, yet this country doesn’t deny any of its students from the right to education.
I even asked another question to Tanya (from Russia) whether students of other nationality are allowed or no? She replied “There are about 700 Indians studying in Smolensk State Medical Academy itself” this somewhat helps one understand of the encouragement Russia provides to even students of other nations as well. This can be as one of the steps taken up by Russia to help the developing countries like India to step forward towards success.
3. ENSURE GENDER EQUALITY AND IMPROVE THE SITUATION OF WOMEN
h. Eliminate gender inequality in primary and secondary education and at all levels of education by 2015.
I . Ensure equal access to political institutions for women and men.
j. Eliminate discriminatory practices in labor and employment.
k. Create effective mechanisms for preventing violence against women.
l. Reduce the impact of unfavorable socioeconomic factors on health and life expectancy, especially male.
According to CNN News Website in the news article ‘Russia’s bleak picture of Health’ it mentioned the following:
“The biggest health problem facing Russia is the very high level of mortality among working aged men,” says Martin McKee, an expert in Russian public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
This in fact brings out a completely different not so usually perceived mortality to be a factor for the men in Russia per sae, it is very rare that one hears of mortality being a major health problem for the men in that country.
In order to question the safety of women, another question was put forward to Tanya( from Russia) and she said that women are completely safe travelling at night as there is tight security and no eve teasing as such takes place, except the times when guys are drunk which are dealt by the cops in Russia through legal actions
4 & 5. REDUCE MATERNAL MORTALITY AND MORTALITY AMONG CHILDREN UNDER FIVE
m. Increase life expectancy and reduce mortality from major causes.
n. Promote changeover in society to a healthier life style.
o. Reduce the mortality rate of children under five by at least 50% by 2015, as compared with 1990
p. Reduce maternal mortality by at least 50% in the period 1990-2015.
6. COMBAT HIV/AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND OTHER DISEASES
q. Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
r. Halt the spread and significantly reduce incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) and other socially-based infectious diseases.
After a difrect interaction with Tanya ( from Russia) , it seems The youth in Russia are bringing out awareness about these diseases and it is no longer a ‘ not- to- discussed’ topic among the youths and other citizens of Russia.
7. ENSURE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
s. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and prevent losses of natural resources.
t. Provide the population with sustainable access to safe drinking water.
u. Improve people’s living conditions.
8. PARTICIPATION IN GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP ADEQUATE TO RUSSIAN NATIONAL INTERESTS
v. Creation of favorable international conditions for elimination of internal obstacles to human capital development and achievement of the MDGs in Russia.
w. Priority assistance by Russia to solution of global problems, whose manifestations inside Russia are particularly acute and damaging.
x. Gradual build-up of Russia’s contribution to international development programmes as a donor country.
In short, Even though the Millennium Development goals report of 201o claim different organised strategies to solve the problems of Russia, this country has to still go a long way towards its development in real sense.
BY NICOLE FERNANDES, 3744, SOPHIACOLLEGE