Thanks a lot for your help. The students I coached for TOEFL enjoyed your comments on their essays a lot. And I did too.
Now I would like you to look through my piece of translation on the system of benefits in Ukraine. There are some points that sound fishy to me. But I am not a native speaker.
Here is the translation:
Issues of implementing “The strategy of changing benefits by targeted monetary help to the public”
A strategy of changing a system of benefits by targeted monetary help to the public was approved by Cabinet of Ministers Resolution #253 of March 2nd, 2002 in the context of implementing another programme – A strategy of eliminating poverty, approved by President of Ukraine Decree #637/2001 of August 15th, 2001. Also, while working out the Strategy, the Cabinet of Ministers took into consideration the provisions of President of Ukraine Decree #717 “On main directions of social policy for the period of up to the year 2004” of May 24th, 2000 and the Message of the President of Ukraine to the Supreme Soviet and the Cabinet of Ministers.
Changing benefits by targeted monetary help should also be considered one of the most important, but, at the same time, most painful and difficult to achieve components of a drastic overhaul of the social protection system. One must acknowledge that over the last ten years the social protection system has undergone considerable changes which were aimed at adequately reflecting the ongoing transformations in society.
However, the lack of a well-defined and consistent policy of reforming the social sphere, chronic underfunding, being viewed as a low priority issue by the government, as well as the shallow and indeterminate nature of decisions have caused the social protection system to lose its coherence, manageability, efficiency, and resulted in its inability to handle ever-increasing demands.
A system of granting numerous and various types of benefits and privileges was inherited by independent Ukraine from the USSR and, unexpectedly, not only has it retained its main former features, but it has been given some peculiar further development, reflected in numerous attempts by various vested interest groups to add to laws they lobby various provisions granting benefits, and also in notorious practice to adopt populist laws, which envisage certain benefits for the public, by Parliament with subsequent shifting of the responsibility for not being able to implement them onto bodies of the executive power.
Such practice, on the one hand, ruins the social protection system, and, on the other hand, inevitably brings about an increase in social tension.
As was mentioned earlier, the system of social benefits and privileges was established and secured the social functions of the state under a command-and-administration economy with its unified planning, centralized distribution of resources and very limited function of money, as a general equivalent (its relative buying power). Retaining major principles of the above-mentioned system of benefits and privileges under the conditions of building a market economy has, as a result, the following negative aspects:
- it is very difficult to calculate the volume of resources needed to finance a system of benefits;
- the principle of targeting the needy is not observed, i.e. benefits are often granted to those who are not in need of them;
- there is no unified, well though-out concept for granting benefits: their number, quality, the cost of providing benefits cannot be brought under control, and a number of people, entitled to them, has a steady tendency to increase;
- a disproportionately large part of the country’s population is eligible for various benefits, which place a heavy burden on the budget and results in a situation when state bodies virtually refuse to fulfil obligations put on them by the law, citing a lack of resources;
- a system of the social protection of the public loses its integrity, controllability and efficiency.
Look forward to hearing from you shortly
TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between two university students (1)