Economy, Domestic Economy

Minister Urges Wealth Distribution

Minister  Urges  Wealth  DistributionMinister  Urges  Wealth  Distribution

Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabie warned on Monday of what he called increasing urban poverty, saying that income distribution data shows that seven million people are living in absolute poverty in a way that their food security is in jeopardy.

“Illiteracy, food insecurity, healthcare problems and economic inequality are the major indicators of poverty in every society,” the minister said.

“We have been able to identify seven million people whose food security has to be addressed. The number is expected to reach 10 million in the near future,” he was quoted by IRNA as saying.

Pointing to what he described as social imbalance, he said “distribution of income in Tehran is seven times bigger than that of Sistan-Baluchestan Province.”  However, Rabie added, urban poverty in Tehran is more vivid and visible.

He said that nearly 6 million people applied for the newly introduced comprehensive health insurance program. “These are people who, according to our census, belong to the most underprivileged strata of the society. Urban poverty has been on an ascending order since past 8 years.”

Meanwhile, Rabie said that the current social imbalance is the biggest impediment against “educational equality”, and added, “Official data indicates that the average expenditure of educated families by far exceeds that of the uneducated ones.” Moreover, he asserted, educated people are in a better position to find jobs and they are more likely to benefit from the economic growth.

He then pointed to the “demographic window” as a double-edged sword which can yield catastrophic results if not properly handled. “Our universities and educational institutions, which have to be basically capable of training academics and experts, are packed with a huge number of young students who will be left with no option but to do something other than what they are really trained for.”

Pointing to the increasing dropout rate in the country, he said “we have millions of students in the urban areas that are dropping out from the education system every year.”

Rabie said that the government’s social committee is to prepare a package which aims to support school dropouts. “In the first step, our aim is to eradicate illiteracy among the young generation. The elderly will be the next target, including those citizens older than 30.”