Gov’t action plan for 2016 includes reforms for young, underprivileged

Some of the promises Davutoglu announced during a meeting at the Ankara Chamber of Commerce’s (ATO) Congresium Hall on Thursday will be carried out within a week as they do not require new legislation, such as the offering of loans with favorable conditions to young people.

Promises Davutoglu pledged to put into effect within a week are as follows:

Young people will be provided, when they come up with a project, with a non-repayable loan of up to TL 50,000 ($17,000). The young will be able to draw a loan of up to TL 100,000 without interest.

The monthly scholarship of TL 350,000 that a university student is currently entitled to was increased to TL 400,000 ($137,000), as of the day of the announcement.

In a bid to promote marriage among young people in the country, a young person who is to be married will be offered by the government an additional 20 percent of the savings deposited in banks for their marriage.

All the other promises for the year 2016 will be put into action within three months, Davutoglu said in his live televised speech.

The minimum wage, which is currently around TL 1,000 ($343) per month, will be raised to TL 1,300 ($446).

The government will not allow companies to be negatively affected by the increase in the minimum wage, Davutoglu underlined.

The government will pay for a year’s salary of a young person in his first job.

Young people who set up a new business will be exempt from income tax for three years.

Owners of small businesses will be exempt from income tax for up to TL 8,000 of their yearly revenue.

Pensioners and low-income families will be helped in buying an apartment in monthly installments of TL 250 ($86).

The salary of muhtars, locally elected administrators who are in charge of neighborhoods or villages, will increase to the minimum wage.

Issues that noncommissioned officers have long complained about will be resolved. The salary that privates are paid monthly will increase to TL100 ($34).

Poor families will be allowed to have a certain amount of Internet access free of charge.

The fee that Turkish expats are required to pay for exemption from military service will be dropped to 1,000 euros, instead of what was previously 6,000 euros.

Citizens will soon be provided with electronic identity profiles to replace ID cards.

Some of the other promises made by the government that may require new legislation in order to be passed are as follows:

A working woman will be entitled to two months of paid maternity leave on her first pregnancy, three months on her second and six months of paid leave for her third child.

New legislation related to political ethics and that is aimed at increasing transparency in politics will be passed in Parliament by the end of March 2016.

New legislation that will allow the government to take a share of the increase in value resulting from amendments in zoning plans in towns will also be passed in the same time period.

The restructuring of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) is to be completed by the end of June 2016. Railway transportation will be open to private investment.

Legislation will be introduced for the Canal İstanbul project — a huge construction project to build a canal between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara through Thrace near İstanbul — by the end of June. Originally, the project was to be put out to tender by the end of 2013.

A new election law and a political parties law will be drafted within a year.

What Davutoglu described as “centers of traditional wisdom” as well as cemevis, Alevi houses of worship, will be granted legal status.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN