— In our country, the "makhallabay" system was introduced for the first time. What is the nature of this position for you, how do you see and understand it?
— In accordance with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on December 3, 2021, the post of assistant to the khokim was introduced in each makhalla of our Republic. So myself along with my colleagues, I started working as an assistant to the khokim of the makhalla "Toza-Bog" in the city of Urgench, Khorezm region. From the first day of my activity, I set myself the main goal — to bring state policy to the level of the makhalla, to provide employment for the population, increase its income, develop entrepreneurship and thereby reduce poverty.
If in short, the purpose of my position is a complete study of the makhalla and the living conditions of each household, determining the points of growth of the makhalla, in cooperation with the asset of the makhalla, determining priorities. We are also entrusted with such tasks as providing support to citizens who want to start their own business, facilitating the training of citizens in knowledge and skills, employment of the unemployed, assistance in obtaining preferential loans, organizing cooperation with leading entrepreneurs based on growth points, identifying empty buildings and land plots in the mahalla. In addition, we are responsible for providing assistance to socially vulnerable segments of the population.
In short, the assistant of the khokim is a responsible position in which it is necessary to implement the ongoing reforms. As the head of our state said, it is necessary to go down to the makhalla, lead people and work tirelessly until all their problems are solved.
— Tell us more about yourself and how you came to this position. Were you previously familiar with the work in the makhalla, in which you are now an assistant? What kind of work experience do you have that allows you to solve the tasks assigned to the assistant to the khokim?
— I, Vapaev Shavkat Bahodirovich, was born in 1986 in the city of Urgench, Khorezm region. I have a family and one child, I have a higher education. I graduated from the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Land Reclamation. Prior to his appointment as assistant to the khokim, I worked in various positions in the khokimiyat of the city of Urgench, from the position of head of the Department of housing and communal services of the city of Urgench, I was transferred to the position of assistant to the khokim.
The "Toza-Bog" makhalla of the city of Urgench consists of multi-apartment residential buildings. Before that, I was well acquainted with the mkahalla, as I worked in the khokimiyat of the city of Urgench, and after that, in my current position, I worked individually with each apartment building and their residents. My experience at previous jobs also helped me to perform the tasks assigned to the assistant to the khokim. In addition, I tirelessly continue to gain experience working with people.
— Can you give detailed information about your makhalla?
— The makhalla where I work is located in the city of Urgench and is 24.5 hectares. The makhalla consists of 1503 apartments in 40 multi-storey buildings, in which 1510 families live, and 4285 residents live in them. In addition, there are 46 non-residential facilities, 1 kindergarten, 1 single center "Ishga Marhamat" in the makhalla. There are 83 business entities operating here. The population of the makhalla is mainly engaged in service and trade. There are no large industrial enterprises on the territory of the makhalla.
— How did you establish contact with the residents of the makhalla, how did you get acquainted with the makhalla?
— From the first day of work, I got to know the chairman of the mahalla, a youth leader, a women's activist and a district inspector. We agreed to work with them in a team, conducted a yard tour, interviewed people and studied the living conditions of each citizen. I opened the telegram channel of the mahalla, created conditions for residents to express their problems through this channel, and I still consult and work with them in agreement.
— As an assistant to the khokim, you must have conducted research and surveys in the makhalla. Please tell us in detail about their results, what have you been able to identify?
— As an assistant to the khokim, I conducted surveys among the population on various topics several times. Based on the results of the survey, on the telegram channel I include in my work plan the direction that will get the most votes. For example, the question "what should I pay attention to when solving the problems of people with financial problems, disabilities and illnesses?" residents of the makhalla replied that medical workers, that is, nurses, should regularly visit each apartment building and inquire about the health status of residents. And in the questionnaire on the development of the infrastructure of our makhalla, residents noted the need to asphalt roads and repair sidewalks. These issues were put before the authorities and resolved taking into account the opinion of the population.
— Is it possible to show the "social portrait" of your makhalla in numbers?
— As a result of surveys, I divided the makhalla into 4 categories.
Category 1 — 101 (6.7%) households with low income, but trying to earn additional income;
Category 2 — 582 (38.7%) households with a permanent income and a desire to receive additional income;
Category 3 — 78 (5.2%) households in need of social protection, who have lost a breadwinner and have members with disabilities;
Category 4 — 742 (49.4%) households with good economic condition and self-sufficiency.
134 persons with disabilities also live in the makhalla, 167 households are listed in the "Register of Social Protection". The "Iron Notebook" includes 9 families, 57 women in the "Women's Notebook", 7 young people in the "Youth Notebook". There are 46 buildings for entrepreneurship in the makhalla, 83 business entities operate.
— Have the main causes of poverty been identified as a result of the study? What measures are you taking to eliminate these causes?
— Based on the conducted surveys and appeals of the population, the main causes of poverty among the residents of the makhalla can be called difficulties in finding a job, lack of profession, skills and education, a reduction in income as a result of a sudden illness of an able-bodied family member, the predicament of bereaved breadwinners and single mothers caring for children.
To help families in need out of this situation, we include them in our plan and then provide them with assistance, carry out repairs in their homes, provide food, medicines, assist in the treatment of patients at the expense of funds from the funds "Sakhovat va Kumak", "Women's Notebook" and "Youth Notebook", as well as on the basis of support visiting working groups and sponsorship of entrepreneurs. We also assist in increasing family incomes by helping the unemployed to get a job, training women and young people who want to master a profession or establish entrepreneurial activity at home. There are many examples of this.
— Tell me, what work has been done in terms of social support for the residents of the mahalla?
— A lot of work is being done in the mahalla to provide social support to the population. In particular, with the participation of the makhalla's assets, together with the family polyclinic, a list of families who have lost a breadwinner, single mothers, disabled and sick citizens from among the residents of apartment buildings has been formed, and control over the issuance of medicines to them has been established. Also on holidays, at the expense of the funds of the khokimiyat, deputies, foundations and with the assistance of sponsors-entrepreneurs, distribution of food, delivery of medicines, clothing, practical assistance in paying for utilities, house repairs, heating systems, distribution of school uniforms to children of families included in the "Notebooks" of the makhalla are carried out.
— What methods have you used in your work to support poor families?
— To support poor households, I divided the families of our makhalla into 4 categories and determined which households need help. Thus, households of the 1st category are assisted in obtaining vacancies, subsidies and preferential loans, households of the 2nd category are provided with preferential loans, as well as households of the 4th category who are in need of assistance were attached to the households of the 3rd category on my initiative, who are engaged in entrepreneurship and decided to sponsor them at will. We carry out all this work in cooperation with the assets of the makhalla.
One of the goals included in the Development Strategy of the New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026 is the comprehensive development of entrepreneurship. Based on this, the sectors of trade and services are defined as the drivers of the makhalla. To date, 83 retail and service outlets in 46 non-residential facilities operate in the makhalla. This year we are striving to double the number of business entities and completely eliminate unemployment in the makhalla.
— Based on your experience, tell me, what are the causes of poverty in the makhalla? What else do you think needs to be done to reduce poverty?
— One of the main factors causing poverty in the makhalla, as I mentioned above, is unemployment and lack of vocational education among women and youth. Based on this, it is possible to reduce the number of unemployed and reduce poverty by organizing courses for them and opening microcenters in each sector for those who have completed these courses.
There are families with disabilities, disabled citizens and bereaved breadwinners in the makhalla, and in order to reduce poverty, these families need financial support from entrepreneurs, sponsors, and the state. It is advisable to increase the benefits provided by the President to entrepreneurs who sponsor low-income families, provide them with tax benefits or loans.
— The system of work of "makhallabay" provides for close interaction of management bodies at all levels in solving problems that cannot be eliminated at the local level. Have there been similar situations in your practice?
— Of course, we work in cooperation with higher organizations to solve the tasks set for us in terms of socio-economic development in the makhallas. In order to systematically organize the work of the khokim's assistants, they are assisted by employees attached from representatives of the republic, as well as representatives of the regional and city khokimiyat and many city organizations and enterprises by virtue of their duties. When we encounter various problems during a yard tour in the mahalla, we take advantage of the opportunity created for us to contact each of the relevant organizations and solve them on the spot. In particular, the khokim's assistants were fully provided with the necessary conditions for the proper organization of their work. Our workrooms are renovated and equipped with all necessary equipment. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for this.
— Today in our country there is a tough fight against any manifestations of corruption. What are you doing in your activities to prevent corruption?
— In order to prevent corruption in our work, I try to build my activities on the principles of transparency and openness. At the same time, first of all, I rely on local activists and residents. A report on all the work done is submitted to the people, deputies, responsible representatives of local authorities. We do everything in consultation and in agreement with people. That's the whole point.
— What has changed in the mahalla during your activity? Has the residents' confidence in the institute of khokim assistants and the mahallabai system as a whole increased?
— It is not an easy task to gain the trust of the people and the country by working among people and lightening their burden. As the financial situation changes and the income of the population increases, his faith in himself and in the state grows. Despite the fact that I have only recently started working in the makhalla, based on my recommendations on the streets of Marifat and Obodlik of the 3rd quarter, a 700-meter road was paved in front of houses No. 28-29, gravel was laid in the parking lot of 4-5 apartment buildings and etc. In addition, as I said above, the remaining works included in the program will be implemented this year.
Of the 72 citizens who applied to start their business activities, 46 were granted a preferential loan in the amount of 1,424.6 million sums. In 2022, applications were received from 56 citizens for subsidizing equipment in the amount of 440 million sums, for 23 of them in the amount of 191 million sums, a scoring process was carried out and orders were issued. Profitable employment of 411 citizens has been provided. In particular, 207 citizens were provided with permanent work, 76 with paid public works and 128 with self-employment. Another 68 citizens were trained in their professions and entrepreneurial skills. Over the past period, 10 legal entities and 28 individual business entities have been created. Four citizens became members of the association of artisans, the master students of each craftsman are trained.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that the introduction of the post of assistant to the khokim has already begun to make a significant contribution to the comprehensive development of makhallas, improving the standard of living of the population and increasing its income.
Jamoliddin Turdimov, CERR
"Economic Review" Journal №2/2023