The authorities of the Republic of Daghestan will no longer provide free baby food, according to local online newspaper Chernovik, with local MPs claiming that it is too expensive.
A spokesperson for the Finance Ministry told OC Media that the change is due to a lack of funds.
‘It’s not necessary to think that we are making savings on children. Last year, we provided young parents and their children with food worth almost ₽150 million ($2.6 million). This year we can not afford it. There are other articles [in the budget] that require much more money’, the spokesperson told us.
The Health Ministry applied for ₽180 million ($3.1 million) from the budget for dairy products. Last year they applied for ₽170 million, and ₽145 was allocated.
Children's kitchens are a means of social support throughout Russia, and are located in polyclinics in every district. According to Russian law, free baby food should be provided to children under three, children under 7 if they are from a large family, and for children with disabilities under 15.
In order to get free baby food, parents must first apply to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs as well as obtain a recommendation from a pediatrician. Then the child is put on a list, while the mother receives special permission to access the children's kitchens. The permission documents must be renewed every three months.
News of the cuts to free baby food outraged local residents. Internet users accuse the authorities of illogical use of funds.
‘Can you imagine a woman who has no work and has to live for ₽150 ($2.58) a month?’, user Muslim Aliev writes in the comments of the Chernovik article, likely referring to a monthly child allowance of ₽112 ($1.93), which is given to families every month until a child turns 18.
‘They should steal less. Then there would be enough money for food and benefits from the regional budget’, another user, Kom ar, writes.
This year, free baby food is also not being provided in the republics of Ingushetia and Mari El.