One in five Romanians lives in poverty. The Gov’t aims to cut the number of poor by 400,000 until 2020

One in five Romanians, i.e. some 5 million people, is facing poverty. According to the draft of the National Strategy to fight poverty, put on public debate by the Labour Ministry, the government wants to reduce the number of poor by 400,000 until 2020.

The draft regarding social inclusion and decrease of poverty (2014-2020) reveals one in five Romanians is facing poverty due to insufficient incomes. Three quarters of the above defined persons are facing the situation for more than three years.

One third of Romania’s population cannot afford to buy goods considered necessary for a decent living. The document reveals there are still children that have never attended school classes, while the percentage of youngsters without proper education is high.

The draft also shows there are lots of inactive people standing low chances to find jobs on the labour market; there are also disparities in covering basic health assistance.

The strategy claims it will offer Romania real chances to register progress in reducing poverty during the next seven years, within the context of Europe 2020 Strategy.

The strategy aims at persons and/or families with an annual income lower than 60 percent of the average income per adult person; in 2008 this category included 5 million people.

“The government’s objective is to reduce their number by at least 580,000 until 2020. By 2012 their number had already decreased to 4.8 million, meaning 30 percent of the target has been accomplished. From 2012 until 2020 our target is to take out of the poverty area some 400,000 people (the rest of 70 percent of the objective),” the document reads.

The draft initiators suggest the government should implement decisions meant to develop the capacity of the 4.8 million poor Romanians to increase their incomes faster than the average income.

Statistics show that in 2012, of the 22.6 percent of the population facing poverty, some 18.2 percent (81 percent of the people facing poverty) were living in persistent poverty. Almost one third of children live in persistent poverty – the report reads – facing risks 3 percent higher as against 2008. One of two children in rural areas lives in poverty, as compared to only 17 percent in urban areas. This means that 74 percent of the children facing poverty live in rural areas.

The elderly also face poverty risks – some 25.8 percent.

Roma ethnics represent another category with important poverty risks, irrespective of age, education and residence environment – i.e. risks are ten times higher than other ethnicity face.

The main objectives of social protection policy are: the implementing of a unique program for poor people, the minimum insertion income, expected to reach all poor families by 2016, and an increase of the social budget for poor people. Social services aim at the developing of social services integrated within the community and at consolidating social services for child protection.

Other issues in view: the health system, social dwellings, directing interventions to poorer communities, including the EU funds.

The draft strategy is on public debate until February 10, 2015.

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