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The significance and role of local self-governments in the population policy of Serbia

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Author(s): Gavrilović Ana | Jugović Aleksandar L.

Journal: Stanovništvo
ISSN 0038-982X

Volume: 49;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 79;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: society | demographic changes | local self-government | population policy | Serbia

ABSTRACT
Population should be in the central focus of local community institutions and the local community may constitute its population policy which will supplement state population policy measures, considering the local specific various traditions, values and models of living. The paper's basic goal is to critically perceive the characteristics, significance and role of local self-governments in the current population policy of Serbia. Social situation and social policy characteristics in Serbia are analyzed in the context of the population policy. It is pointed out that poverty, unemployment, the economic crisis, the process of privatization, the issue of system decentralization and social expectations of the population, as current expressions of transition, all have a consequence on the demographic development and population policy. A critical estimation of the activities in the field of population policies which are carried out by local and provincial self-governments in Serbia in the last decade are brought into focus, with a special review to the activities of provincial and local governments in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. As a result of the analysis it is pointed out that the population and social policy measures have been separated since the year 2000 and that they have been directed only to stimulating births and not child raising and that solutions regarding maternity leave brought improvements, however shortened maternity leave for the third child. The new conception of the population policy brought a whole series of restrictions such as: suspension of aid for newborn essentials; discontinuance of the right to maternity allowance; abolishing of compensation for preschool expenses for the third child; children’s allowance lost its population measures character along with considerable tightening of the census and decreasing of amount; the activities of preschool facilities have been reduced only to an educational function, and the terms for realizing rights to preschool education for children without parents and children with special needs have been tightened. The authors point out to the values and principles on which a contemporary population policy of local self-governments in Serbia should be established, such as: stability of established measures, a clear message on the needs of society, compatibility and not uniformity with measures of other bodies, compassion and uniformity with aspirations of couples and individuals, respect for the rights and freedom of man, information availability, equality of birth and raising children in measures. The establishment of population policy municipality funds is suggested and that local population policy measures are both material and non-material type, as well as in the form of organizational measures which could use the existing resources in a better way. The municipal assembly should create organizational suppositions by appointing a Population Policy Commission as its permanent body. The Commission would propose to the Municipal Assembly to adopt a strategic document - the Population Policy Strategy in the municipality. The Municipality Assembly should adopt the Action Plan for carrying out of the population policy every year, which would define the measures, bearers, terms and methods of evaluating measures with a plan for the following year. The population policy of the local self-government should be a constant process which manages, follows and evaluates, which is public and which understands the engagement of competent people, participation of citizens-volunteers and civil organizations.
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