ISNA news agency:
After announcing last week that state support would be cut to those parents who deprive their children of education, the Director-General of the Office of Social Welfare Studies at Iran’s Ministry of Labor, Cooperation, and Social Care announced that the office has compiled a report about 300,000 children “in government care” who are deprived of education.
Speaking at a conference on “The Importance of Social Policies and Welfare Programs” concerned with social policy in Iran, the senior official, named as Dr. Rostami, said that since the establishment of the Social Welfare Department in 2004, the ministry had distributed the social welfare budget through this body, with close cooperation between the management and the Foundation for Protection and Support Services Foundation. Problems have persisted, however, he said, since the ministry has not provided appropriate programs and effective tools to conduct real evaluations and assessments.
Unequal distribution of poverty in the state
Rostami said that in its studies into the “multi-dimensional facets of poverty”, the department has discovered different needs in different areas; for example, provinces like Kurdistan and Lorestan are most afflicted by urban health problems, while Alborz province has the worst rural health problems and Hormozgan province has the highest incidence of deprivation.
In terms of “poverty of education”, meanwhile, Sistan-Baluchistan province ranks first in terms of urban and rural educational deprivation to an extreme degree. These geographical inequalities persist in other areas too, such as housing, living standards, etc., demonstrating that the distribution of poverty is absolutely unequal in the country, with some provinces marked by poverty, health problems and severe economic deprivation and others suffering from housing shortages and educational shortcomings.
Decimal division for 23 million families in Iran
Although the Ministry of Social Welfare has been collecting welfare data from Iranians since 2008, Rostami continued, the department only really started seriously collecting and collating this information two years ago, including a variety of information such as data on insurance coverage, vehicle types, employment and tax information, residence and household debts. After collating and analyzing all the data for 23 million households, he added, they came up with results they had not expected at all.
The possibility of providing unconditional support to conduct medical tests
For example, the official continued, after studying the data on health insurance, the analysts found that the central provinces of Iran have the highest incidences of physical disability per capita, with other provinces have unequal proportions of disabled citizens. Based on this information attained from its research, the department found that it is possible to provide support to families in some provinces, including the possibility of providing unconditional support to conduct medical tests for needy families.
Benefit from the support of the relief committee was one of the criteria for marriage
Rostami added that due to the extreme poverty in some areas, large numbers of peoples there require support from the regimeRelief Committees. In other areas, poverty levels are lower but the number of individuals requiring support is still high, with concerns that a culture of “benefiting from the support of the Relief Committee” has become a culture in some poor communities and become standards in terms of marriage and getting married .
High suicide rate in the “Eelam province” compared to other provinces
According to the collated data, Rostami said, while Iran has an overall lower-than-usual rate compared to regional averages, the suicide rate in some provinces such as Eelam is very high compared to others, with the data helping researchers to find out the reasons behind this.
Some members of other unions should not be provided with construction work insurance
Rostami added that the other information gathered on the Iranian healthcare system, specifically concerning state health insurance for construction workers, showed that workers in other sectors are benefiting illicitly from the healthcare insurance cover provided for this group, asserting that this phenomenon should end since the insurance cover is provided solely for construction workers, while these other workers should be provided with insurance cover for their own sectors.
Some areas take advantage of Relief Committee and welfare although they have high income
Regarding the Relief Committees’ provision of support for the needy, Rostami said, “Although this support covers poor areas, we have faced situations where households enjoying a high income are fraudulently benefiting from this support. In 2014 the Committee for Relief cut off support for 30 percent of these individuals” .
The possibility that 22% of the Iranian elite have migrated
Rostami added that part of the research focused on “analyzing the elite” in Iran, with no data or related information found for 22 percent of these respondents, suggesting the possibility that they may have migrated outside Iran.
He also noted that 1.6 million Iranians don’t currently possess national ID cards, with the department taking action to remedy this; around 400,000 people have failed to register their information, with a strong likelihood that they have died.
Collecting information about 300,000 children deprived of education
On the data concerning children currently missing out on full-time education, Rostami said, “We have collected information about 300 000 children deprived of education. We announced last week that any families preventing their children from education will see their support cut off as a sanctioning policy by the government.”
High-income households expected to contribute to healthcare costs
Rostami added that the department is gathering information about state health insurance adding that starting from the beginning of 2017, the department will be collating information on household income in order to evaluate and study the data on health insurance, with families enjoying a high household income expected to contribute towards their own medical costs.