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Is it possible to live on 1,18 GEL daily?

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, December 2
The youth wings of the main opposition political parties have staged a rally in Tbilisi to protest the recent statement of a Georgian Dream representative in Tbilisi City Council, Rima Beradze, who stated that it was absolutely possible that a socially vulnerable person could survive on food worth 1.18 GEL at the capital city’s budget financed free of charge canteens.

The protesters appeared before the Tbilisi City Council with a slice of bread, a slice of sausage, an apple and a small biscuit to stress that this tiny portion of food is worth 1.18 GEL and is hardly enough for each of the 26,000 socially vulnerable in Tbilisi who use the canteens.

Beradze’s statement has provoked a strong backlash.

Beradze stated before cameras that her statement was misinterpreted by a journalist. However, she refrained from providing any additional explanation.

Meanwhile, the Non-governmental Organistaion Transparency International Georgia (TI) stated that an additional 10,000 socially vulnerable people need to get a certain portion of food from the canteens, and that adding the people to the list will only cost 4 million GEL from the state budget.

“The Tbilisi budget meets 800 million GEL and allocating additional 4 million GEL for the category of people should not be a serious problem,” Eka Gigauri, the head of TI, said.

She added that children living and working in the streets have no opportunity to eat at such canteens.

This has made a number of facts clear:

• A large part of population still lives in extreme poverty.

• There is no genuine mechanism that will protect the socially vulnerable population.

• It is better for the Government to focus on temporary measures to address the poverty problems rather than to work out long-lasting plans.

• The politicians have offered no concrete plans to resolve the problem.

• Such situations and statements increase political skepticism amongst the public, which will undoubtedly be reflected in the elections of next year.

All in all, the situation and the public reactions have been universally negative, and members of the Government should not be surprised that they have been so severely criticized.