1.2 million Armenians apply for social security card


May 11 2004

YEREVAN, MAY 11, ARMENPRESS: Armenian employment and social affairs
minister Aghvan Vardanian told a news conference today that some 1.2
million Armenians have already applied for social security cards and
added that the government is not going to extend the deadline for
application beyond July 1.

The government first suggested to introduce the system of social
security cards last year and the first bill appeared as “identity
cards”. According to the reform, each Armenian citizen must have the
lifetime card with a 10-digit number of a citizen’s personal data,
which will be used for opening a bank account, paying taxes, applying
for state benefits and identification at healthcare facilities.

The government said the cards would increase the efficiency of
state-run agencies and help it reduce the volume of corruption,
however, the idea was opposed strongly by the Armenian Church,
whose main counter-argument was that the name “identity card’ must
be replaced by another one, as the word “identity card” contradicts
Biblical precepts, found in the New Testament Book of Revelation. The
government met halfway this demand and changed the name of the
“identity cards” into “social security cards.”

According to the law, the use of the cards is mandatory for all
financial transactions including receiving pensions and family
benefits, paying taxes and social insurance. The minister said
today those citizens who will refuse cards will be subjected to
administrative fines.

Shifting to politics, the minister ruled out “a revolutionary
situation” in Armenia, incited by heavy social conditions, admitting,
however, that a great majority of people are in still desperate
conditions, but went on to argue that Armenians are not apt to revolt
because of poor living standards.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS