Armenia's National Assembly today approved a bill that seeks to introduce a new tax for increasing social benefits to the families of servicemen killed or seriously injured during active military duty. Under the bill, which passed its first reading by 102 votes to 3, every working Armenian citizen will be obligated to contribute 1,000 drams (about $2) per month to the fund from which the program will be financed.
The three oppositionists voting against the bill were members of the Armenain National Congress faction Aram Manukyan and Levon Zurabyan, and Heritage representative Zaruhi Postanjyan. During the parliament's three-day debate, the lawmakers had denounced the program, arguing that there was no need to introduce a new tax and that the compensation paid to the servicemen's families could easily be increased through state budget funds.
The defense ministry-prepared program plans to pay the families of soldiers who are killed or gravely injured during military duty a one-time compensation of 10 million drams. The families of servicemen with less severe injuries will receive a one-time compensation of 5 million drams. In addition, the families of killed or disabled servicemen will receive monthly payments for 20 years ranging from 150, 000 to 300,000 drams, depending on the soldier's rank.