Bill on changes into pension system passes first reading in Russia's State Duma

Bill on changes into pension system passes first reading in Russia's State Duma

The government’s bill on changes into the Russia pension system has passed its first reading in the State Duma today, as 327 lawmakers supported the draft legislation, 102 deputies voted against, and one deputy abstained from the voting, TASS reported.

The first reading envisions consideration of the bill’s concept. Once it is approved, a wide discussion of the initiative will continue as proposals on follow-on revision of the draft bill will be presented in the form of amendments for the second reading. The State Duma has set a period of over two months for further discussion compared with traditional 30 days.

The draft bill on changes to the national pension system submitted by the government to the State Duma, stipulate a gradual increase in the retirement age to 65 for men (by 2028) and 63 for women (by 2034). Currently, the retirement age for men and women is 60 and 55 years, respectively.

The authorities plan to raise the retirement age gradually starting from 2019. The hike in the retirement age does not affect current pensioners (about 46.5 million people.) They will continue to receive their pensions and social benefits that were earmarked for them earlier. According to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s forecast, thanks to the implementation of the retirement reform, pensions will grow by about 1,000 rubles ($16) annually.

The head of Research Center for pension systems and actuarial prediction of the social sphere of the Institute for Social Analysis and Forecasting at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economics and Public Administration, Elena Grishina, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that in the next two months after amending the bill it will be important how the pension reform will be projected into the consciousness of people. "It should be measured against the opinion polls, the vast majority of which show a negative reaction. Actually, people's negative attitude toward raising the retirement age was not news, but perhaps, they should have laid a longer preparatory period with a more gradual rate of increase in age," she said.

The head of the Scientific Research Financial Institute of the Ministry of Finance of Russia, Vladimir Nazarov, in his turn, expects that a number of amendments to be made to the current bill. "I think that programs for retraining people of pre-retirement age will be added. Most likely, they will also increase unemployment benefits for 55-60-year-old people, so that people were not left without money if they lose their jobs at the age of retirement. They also need to increase the efficiency of programs on finding a job for people of this age category, additional funds amounting to 5 billion rubles are envisaged for this purpose," the expert said.

"Also, I do not exclude that there may be some changes in the parameters of the reform for women with children - either it will be additional pensionable years for the child, or additional points in the pension formula, or even a reduction in the retirement age below 63. We know that raising the retirement age will not affect women who have 5 children or more, and a certain relaxation for mothers with 4 children or an increase in pensions," he said.

"Public discussion shows that people are mainly concerned whether they will be able to continue working when they reach a new retirement age. "People were afraid because they did not understand where these funds would go. Now it is understandable that all funds received from raising the retirement age will be used to increase pensions to current non-working pensioners," Vladimir Nazarov concluded.

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