26 Sep 2018 14:57

Pension bill passes 2nd reading in State Duma, 3rd reading due on Thurs

MOSCOW. Sept 26 (Interfax) - Russia's State Duma has passed the second and main reading of the bill on pension reform, which envisages a gradual increase of the retirement age.

The deputies unanimously (385 votes) supported all amendments to the bill initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A total of 326 deputies voted for the bill at the second reading, 59 voted against it, and one abstained.

According to a statement made in the State Duma by Sergei Neverov, the head of the United Russia faction, another 12 votes of United Russia deputies should be added to the figure of 326. He said that 12 members of the faction had not voted for good reasons, but had asked that their position "on supporting the bill" be taken into account.

The bill would raise the retirement age for men and women by five years, to 65 and 60, respectively.

The bill envisages a reduction by three years of the term of employment that gives people the right to retire early (from 45 to 42 for men and from 40 to 37 for women).

Accumulative pensions will be paid from age 55 for women and age 60 for men, the current retirement ages.

The State Duma has also approved an amendment on indexing pensions for non-working pensioners. It is aimed at enabling people who stop working to receive full indexation of their pensions for the preceding period.

The State Duma has also voted to increase unemployment benefits for people of pre-pension age and introduce preferential retirement regulations for mothers who have many children, enabling them to retire at 50-57. Pensioners will retain tax concessions on land and real estate.

"The purpose of the reform should be to implement the task of increasing pensioners' living standards," State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said. He said he is confident that the presidential amendments will make the law "as fair as possible for citizens."

The third and final reading of the bill is scheduled for Thursday.

The deputies debated two packages of amendments on Wednesday.

The first, which had been recommended for adoption, contained nine presidential amendments and seven amendments proposed by deputies and senators of United Russia.

The second, which had been recommended for rejection, contained 308 amendments proposed by deputies, mainly representatives of the opposition. Among the rejected amendments were ones proposed by the LDPR faction to postpone the reform by 20 years and proposals made by the Communist Party and A Just Russia deputies on additional benefits for specific categories of citizens and on keeping the current retirement age for residents of some regions, including Siberia, the Far East, and the Far North.