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MOSCOW, November 22 (Itar-Tass) — New social cards giving discounts off the prices of food of domestic manufacture for the least well-off population groups may be introduced in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said in an interview with the Kommersant daily. The mechanism will be similar to what the Russian capital city's residents have for years known as The Muscovite’s Social Card.
The Agriculture Ministry has been preparing relevant proposals under a state program, without any budget financing so far, just as an element of the social policy, he explained.
"The discount cards should not necessarily be introduced across the nation overnight, but if there are some regions ready to establish this form of social support, they are welcome to do so right away," he said.
In his opinion the Muscovite’s Social Card is a prototype in a sense. "it's very limited, of course. The holders of future electronic cards will surely be entitled to far greater benefits than just discounts off the prices of some foods. The good news is the mechanism exists and it works," Dvorkovich said.
He promised with certainty that there would be no so-called “food stamps” or rationing - mostly for psychological reasons.
“Ours is a very dramatic history. The people tend to react to such innovations from the standpoint of the hard times they lived through. Such mechanisms can be introduced only in a technically and psychologically comfortable way,” Dvorkovich said.
“So far I have not heard any complaints concerning the Muscovite’s Social Card," he remarked. “Everybody is for it. It's convenient, it's normal. If the electronic discount cards work the same way, it will be just fine."
"First and foremost the discounts should apply to domestic products precisely the way we see in all other countries," Dvorkovich said.