TBILISI, DFWatch — President Mikheil Saakashvili asks the government to award pension to all families which have had one of their members die in the military.

He presented the initiative at New Year’s and described it again at a press conference at his palace on Thursday.

The president said the family of a member of the military who died should receive pension along with compensation.

Saakashvili said the government has the means to do this today, although he said in the same speech that the new government is interrupting economic growth and the influx of investments.

The president’s initiative is to double military pensions and the minimum amount of this kind of pension should be double the amount of a state pension. In the 1990s, military pension used to be so low that people preferred to switch to receiving ordinary state pension.

Saakashvili explained that if a member of the military goes on pension, but wants to work for the state, the pension should be retained. Working for the state shouldn’t prevent receiving a military pension, he said, and added that he will send parliament and the government details about how to pay for the reform.

The Defense Ministry responded the same day by saying that the new government already on December 13 decided to set up a government commission which will take care to improve conditions for veterans.

Vako Avaliani, Advisor for the Defense Minister, said the commission will prepare a social package which comes in addition to pensions and insurance.

“Accordingly, the president only repeated a small fragment of the government’s decision, when he decided that pensions should increase. He was at least eight years late. For all these years, the previous government did nothing for veterans, and on the other hand, the president today says that there is a crisis in the country, but also says the government has the means to increase pensions. Yes, the Georgian government plans to increase pensions and to improve the whole social package,” he said.