If you pay peanuts ...
The prices I quoted yesterday are of little relevance to the 15.6 million low-income households which the government decided are eligible for grants of Rp 100,000 (US$10) a month, paid at three-monthly intervals for the next year, to compensate for the increased costs of living following the fuel price rises.
Identifying those eligible ~ and for the full list of criteria see Duncan Graham's site
~ has proved problematic
Although the cash transfer program (CTP) is intended for the poorest
members of society, a subsidy from the rich as it were, too many sticky fingers have hovered around the pot, often to the exclusion, deliberate or otherwise, of many deserving cases.
There are a couple of criteria which particularly interest me, ignoring the fact that as a vegetarian I don't "consume meat, milk and chicken only once a week
1. To be eligible, a household head should "have resources of no more than half a hectare if a farmer, or earn less than Rp 600,000 (US$ 60) a month if a worker.
"As an Idul Fitri 'gift' for low-paid workers in Jakarta, the Jakarta administration has increased the minimum wage to Rp 819,100 (about US$81) for 2006, an increase of 15 percent from the current Rp 711,843.The 15 percent increase granted by the administration is below the inflation rate between January and October this year of 15.65 percent and is much lower than the Rp 1,203,015 demanded by labor unions.
Does this mean that some households will now be ineligible for the grants as their income will be above Rp.600,000?
Perhaps they should move to the outskirts of town, Depok perhaps, where the Chairman of the Depok chapter of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) Inu Kertapati
said that the minimum wage in Depok could not be equal to that of Jakarta because of the economic differences between the two cities.
At these wages, folk may be better off not working anyway. Help is at hand.
Two weeks ago, Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Fahmi Idris said
, "Others estimated that there could be up to two million workers forced out of work, but our study showed that the number would be only as much as one million
"Only" a million? That's all right then.
2. To be eligible a household should "have a head who hasn't been to school or beyond primary school.
On Monday last week, the State Minister for National Development Planning Sri Mulyani Indrawati
said that the government would tie the scheme with requirements - including the family providing education for their children and implementing family planning - by April next year.
One may argue against this interventionist approach, but Jakartass believes that these are laudable aims, or would be if there were labour-intensive programmes introduced simultaneously.
Inevitably there is a problem with this: schools throughout the country are in urgent need of repairs and refurbishing. Also, teachers, as in many 'developed' countries, are undervalued and underpaid; vast numbers moonlight to earn extra income.
The government has to increase its education budget and is doing so incrementally.In 2004
, the Megawati government allocated only 6.5 percent of the total central government spending.This year
, the government allocated Rp 24.6 trillion (US$2.4 billion), or 9.29 percent of the total budget, for the education sector through both the national education and religious affairs ministries.
For the 2006 state budget, the government has proposed a total of Rp 31.3 trillion for the education sector, or 12.01 percent of the planned expenditure.
One problem to be resolved is that these increases are unconstitutional
.In mid-October, the Constitutional Court ruled in a judicial review of the National Education Law that the government must allocate at least 20 percent of the state budget for education, in accordance with the 1945 Constitution. The court also ruled that the allocation should take effect immediately, rather than through gradual increases.
The head of the Budget Committee's working team for budgetary spending, Achmad Hafiz Zawawi, said the committee had held lengthy discussions on whether the 20 percent allocation for education would be based on the Rp 350 trillion in total budget expenditures or just on the expenditures for the country's human resource development programs and state agencies.
In the end, Hafiz said, the committee would likely agree to base the allocation on the Rp 180 trillion allocated for state agencies.
Ah, creative accounting at work. Again.
Stiil, it is good to see that the government is striving to make a structural change to society. This should please at least one Blog Owner
, a modest Indonesian who is more interesting than he suggests.