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Reference:

Dominant trends in the development of social infrastructure in rural areas of the Republic of Mordovia

Ryabova Svetlana Gennadievna

PhD in Economics

associate professor at N. P. Ogarev's Mordovia State University

430000, Russia, respublika Mordoviya, g. Saransk, ul. Bol'shevistskaya, 68

ryabovasg@yandex.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.25136/2409-7802.2023.1.35936

EDN:

SCXDNG

Received:

15-06-2021


Published:

27-04-2023


Abstract: The subject of the study is the dominant trends in the development of the social infrastructure of rural areas of the Republic of Mordovia. The author focuses on the fact that underestimation of the role of social infrastructure and a rather long period of its financing on a residual basis led to an increase in territorial imbalances in its development. Most of the social infrastructure facilities are concentrated in cities and district centers, and rural settlements are still significantly inferior to them in the level of infrastructure provision. The problems of physical deterioration of social infrastructure facilities, as well as the low level of their transport accessibility for the population living far from district centers remain relevant. The unevenness of social living conditions in rural settlements with different populations persists in almost all municipal districts of the republic. A detailed analysis of the structural elements of the social infrastructure of rural areas of the Republic of Mordovia indicates that the preservation of bipolar conditions of territorial development remains the dominant trend. The scientific novelty of this study is to identify territorial imbalances in the level of development of the social infrastructure of rural areas and to develop practical recommendations aimed at reducing them and increasing the infrastructural potential. According to the author, this will largely be facilitated by construction, bringing infrastructure facilities in line with modern requirements, ensuring balanced development of social infrastructure systems, etc. Special attention should be paid to improving the regulatory framework for the development of rural social infrastructure, creating conditions for attracting investment in the social sphere of the village.


Keywords:

rural territories, social infrastructure, objects of social infrastructure, level of development, territorial disproportions, sustainable social development, infrastructural disproportions, infrastructure potential, dominant trend, integrated development

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction. In recent years, in the Republic of Mordovia, more and more attention has been paid to the integrated development of rural areas, including the development of their social infrastructure. Thanks to the implementation of a number of program activities in the village, 6 secondary schools for 1,320 students were built; more than 20 sports facilities, including a sports palace with a swimming pool; 8 kindergartens for 400 places; 11 social centers (houses of culture) for 2,000 places; 55 paramedic and obstetric stations were opened, etc. infrastructural imbalances are also promoted by the implementation of the State Program of the Republic of Mordovia "Integrated development of rural areas", one of the tasks of which is the development of social infrastructure in rural areas [3]. Since the beginning of its implementation, it has been possible to improve the living conditions of 550 residents; to build 17 km of gas distribution and 117 km of water supply networks; to build a cultural center in the village of Staroe Shaigovo; to finish the reconstruction of the District House of Culture in the village of Lyambir and to carry out major repairs of the kindergarten in the village of Staroe Shaigovo. The implementation of national projects has a positive impact on the development of the social infrastructure of municipalities of the republic.

Local self-government bodies are also actively involved in this work. In a number of municipal districts of the republic (Ardatovsky, Atyashevsky, Romodanovsky, etc.), municipal programs have been developed and are being implemented, the main objectives of which are the development of the social infrastructure of a rural settlement to increase the stability and reliability of all its systems (education, health, culture, trade, housing and communal services); ensuring the development of the social infrastructure of a rural settlement to consolidate the population, improving the standard of living; creating legal, organizational, institutional and economic conditions for the transition to sustainable social development of settlements, effective implementation of the powers of local governments, etc. [4, 5] However, despite the efforts made, it has not yet been possible to eliminate territorial imbalances in the level of development of social infrastructure.

In the republic, the process of reducing both the number of rural population and the rural settlements themselves continues. The data presented in Figure 1 show that against the background of a decrease in the total number of rural settlements (from 1,313 settlements in 2002 to 1,237 in 2020), the number of rural settlements without a population increased during the analyzed period (from 29 settlements in 2002 to 86 in 2020) [20]. About 6% (16.8 thousand people) of the rural population of the republic live in small settlements.

Figure 1 Dynamics of the number of rural settlements of the Republic of Mordovia by type and population

The decline in the rural population is due to both natural decline and migration outflow (Table 1). One of the main reasons for which are restrictions on the socio-economic development of rural areas, including infrastructure. After all, the lack of the necessary social infrastructure significantly reduces the quality of life of the rural population.

Table 1 Territory, population density and components of changes in the total population in municipal districts of the Republic of Mordovia at the beginning of 2020 [source: compiled by the author, based on the use of data 20]

According to the Territorial Body of the Federal State Statistics Service for the Republic of Mordovia, only over the past ten years the rural population has decreased from 335.2 thousand people in 2010 to 285.7 thousand people in 2020 and amounted to 36.2% of the total population (in 2010 39.9%). Negative natural and migration growth is recorded in virtually all municipal districts. In most of them, the proportion of the population over the working age remains quite high (over 30%). The highest values of this indicator are in Dubensky (38.9%), Temnikovsky (38.4%), Bolshebereznikovsky (36.4%) and Bolsheignatovsky (35.2%) municipal districts [20]. Demographic forecasts do not add optimism either. The results of calculations show that in the coming years the trend of population decline in the municipalities of the Republic of Mordovia will continue (with the exception of Saransk). High rates of population decline will continue in the Atyrau, Yelnikovsky, Bolsheignatovsky, Temnikovsky and Tengushevsky municipal districts. The continuation of this trend may further complicate the already difficult demographic situation.

Against this background, the tasks of reducing infrastructure imbalances and increasing infrastructure potential become even more urgent. This is confirmed by numerous studies on infrastructure development. They note the importance of creating conditions for the further development of the social infrastructure of rural areas, and also emphasize that the growth of territorial disparities will lead to further polarization in the organization of living space and will increase migration outflow [8, 11, 14, 17, 24, 26].

A review of the scientific literature has shown that theoretical and practical aspects of the development of social infrastructure have been reflected in the works of a number of domestic and foreign scientists. Considering that the very concept of "infrastructure" appeared only in the late 40s of the twentieth century. and for a long time it was absent in economics, insufficient knowledge only fueled scientific interest and opened up new opportunities for research. The first scientist who introduced the term "infrastructure" into scientific circulation was P. Rosenstein-Rodan [31]. In addition to his works, in foreign literature, this problem was developed in the works of K. Clark, H. Singer, R. Nurkse, R. Jochimsen, F. M. Scherer, as well as Niels Hansen, who was one of the first to propose dividing infrastructure into social and industrial [28, 29, 30, 32].

In the domestic practice of scientific research, the very concept of "social infrastructure" and its interpretation appeared in the late 60s of the twentieth century. The circle of domestic authors whose works address the issues of functioning and development of the social infrastructure of rural areas is quite wide (Yu. A. Bolshakova [8], L. V. Bondarenko [9], M. V. Borisova [10], E. I. Zhidkikh [12], N. P. Kuzmich [16], I. V. Sycheva [25], E. V. Frolova [26], A.V. Khashaeva [27], etc.). Special attention is paid to the composition and optimal ratio of social infrastructure objects in rural areas in the works of M. S. Platon [21], A. I. Kocherga, A. A. Mazaraki, S. P. Fedulov, etc. [8].

Attention is also drawn to the fact that in the modern economic literature there is no unambiguous definition of the term "social infrastructure of rural areas". This on the one hand indicates its complexity and versatility, and on the other hand gives the authors the opportunity to offer their own interpretation. So, for example, from the point of view of A. G. Isakov, the social infrastructure of rural territories is "a set of institutions and organizations (objects) located on the territory of a rural settlement and implementing social and economic objectives, the solution of which is aimed at ensuring the vital activity of the population and creating conditions for the development of the economy of rural territories" [13, p. 9].

The definition given by A.V. Kostarev is quite interesting. In his opinion, "the social infrastructure of a rural municipality is an expediently formed material and spatial environment, the necessary condition for the organization of which is maximum accessibility and spatio-temporal proximity of its branches to the spheres of social and individual human activity" [15, p. 11].

The need to distinguish sustainable development from the simple reproduction of rural social potential and take into account the specifics of sustainable development in relation to social infrastructure, Yu. A. Bolshakova points out in his work. In her opinion, "sustainable development of the social infrastructure of rural territories" should be understood as "quantitative and qualitative change in the complex of interrelated material elements of rural social infrastructure designed to create favorable and full-fledged living conditions and development of people, which can provide not only an increase in the well-being of rural citizens, but also an increase in the potential of rural social infrastructure for future generations" [8, p. 5].

At the same time, despite a significant number of scientific publications in this subject area, many aspects of ensuring the sustainable development of the social infrastructure of rural areas remain controversial, insufficiently developed and require further research.

The results of the study and their discussion. A detailed analysis of the structural elements of the social infrastructure of rural areas of the Republic of Mordovia indicates that the preservation of bipolar conditions of territorial development remains the dominant trend. According to the composition of the objects, the rural social infrastructure differs significantly from the urban one.

This is confirmed by the results of studies conducted by other scientists. For example, M. V. Borisova notes that "... in rural areas, mainly the grassroots links of infrastructure industries that provide services of daily and periodic demand are located... in the city, along with the grassroots, the upper links of these industries, institutions and enterprises of episodic demand are concentrated" [10, p. 6]. The same conclusion is drawn by V. G. Agibalova, drawing our attention to the fact that "often the infrastructure in rural areas has a "truncated" composition, due to the numerous reforms carried out in the budgetary and social spheres" [6, p. 21]. Basic institutions (schools, medical institutions) are the norm only in settlements with a population of over 300 people [23]. Small settlements most often do not have even the most necessary social infrastructure facilities. Not the last place is occupied by the problem of physical deterioration of social infrastructure facilities. Disproportions in the level of infrastructural provision of social facilities in rural areas of the Republic of Mordovia persist in almost all municipal districts.

For example, the level of improvement of rural housing stock in the republic is 2-3 times lower than urban. At the end of 2019, the area of residential premises in rural areas equipped with water supply was 62.3% (while in urban housing 91.3%); sewerage 41.7% (in urban housing 86.7%); heating 92.5%. With such a comparison, a significant gap is observed in terms of the specific weight of the area equipped with hot water supply 26.6% (in the urban housing stock 76.5%) and baths 25.9% (in the urban housing stock 75.9%). Rural settlements are in the lead only in terms of the "specific weight of the area equipped with gas" 96.2% (in the urban housing stock, this figure is 95.1%) (Figure 2) [20].But by 2025, the share of the total area of well-maintained residential premises in rural settlements should increase to 50% [3].

Figure 2 Dynamics of the level of housing improvement in the Republic of Mordovia, as a percentage at the end of the year [source: compiled by the author, based on the use of data 20]The pace of providing villagers with housing cannot be considered satisfactory either.

As of January 1, 2019, the volume of rural housing stock in the republic was 8948.3 thousand m2 (in 2015 8707.7 thousand m2). There were 31.3 m2 per inhabitant in rural settlements (26.8 m2 in urban settlements). The top three among municipal districts in this indicator is headed by Temnikovsky municipal district 46.1 m2. Behind him, with a small margin, the second and third positions are occupied by Dubensky (45.9 m2). and Atyrau (43.8 m2) municipal districts. In the group of outsiders Ruzaevsky (26.9 m2) and Zubovo-Polyansky municipal districts (15.6 m2).

T a b l i c a 2 The area of dwellings, on average per inhabitant, by municipal districts of the Republic of Mordovia (at the end of the year; square meters) [source: compiled by the author, based on the use of data 18, 19, 20]

Municipal

districts

2010

2015

2019

Total

in rural areas

settlements

Total

in rural areas

settlements

Total

in rural areas

settlements

Ardatovsky district 23,7

25,5

26,9

25,0

30,3

29,0

Atyrau district

28,3

28,3

36,6

36,6

43,8

43,8

Atyashevsky district

30,3

31,3

33,5

34,6

37,5

39,6

Bolshebereznikovsky district

30,4

30,4

31,3

31,3

34,7

34,7

Bolsheignatovsky district

26,0

26,0

30,2

30,2

33,8

33,8

Dubensky district

34,2

34,2

40,3

40,3

45,9

45,9

Yelnikovsky district

28,0

28,0

30,2

30,2

33,5

33,5

Zubovo-Polyansky district

20,5

14,0

23,5

14,8

25,1

15,6

Insarsky district

25,4

28,9

28,1

32,0

32,3

38,7

Ichalkovsky district

26,5

26,5

29,5

29,5

32,5

32,5

Kadoshkinsky district

25,2

30,9

29,1

36,3

33,7

43,1

Kovylkinsky district

25,6

25,6

27,8

30,5

31,3

33,5

Kochkurovsky district

30,2

30,2

38,8

38,8

43,2

43,2

Krasnoslobodsky district

28,1

30,1

32,1

35,0

35,2

39,0

Lyambirsky district

23,4

23,4

25,1

25,1

27,4

27,4

Romodanovsky district

26,1

28,6

28,6

28,6

31,0

31,0

Ruzaevsky district

24,8

24,8

25,2

24,9

27,1

26,9

Staroshaygovsky district

28,3

28,3

30,6

30,6

35,8

35,8

Temnikovsky district

32,1

35,4

36,6

39,3

42,4

46,1

Tengushevsky district

24,4

24,4

28,5

28,5

32,8

32,8

Torbeevsky district

26,8

28,9

28,9

30,2

31,5

33,7

Chamzinsky district

25,9

34,0

28,0

33,9

30,2

34,5

For reference:Republic of Mordovia

24,0

26,6

26,4

28,3

28,5

31,3

Saransk City District

21,4

23,4

24,6

Structural transformations in the healthcare system of the Republic of Mordovia have also affected rural areas. In order to improve the quality of primary health care to rural residents of the republic, the work of paramedic and obstetric stations (hereinafter referred to as FAP) and household farms in rural areas has been organized, and field forms of work are also used. There are 486 FAPs functioning in the republic, serviced by 479 secondary medical workers. The FAP network is aligned with the size of the population served. On the basis of 78 households, communication with the medical institution in whose area of responsibility this locality is located has been provided (100% accessibility of residents of small settlements has been achieved in the republic with first aid provided on the basis of households) [1]. As part of the implementation of the regional project "Older Generation", delivery of persons over 65 years of age to medical organizations has been organized.

As of January 1, 2020, the number of medical sites was 511, including urban 317, rural 194. The capacity of outpatient clinics during the analyzed period increased to 265.5 visits per shift per 10,000 people (in 2015 it was 244.4 visits per shift per 10,000 people of the population). The level of provision of doctors on average in the republic in 2019 was 53.4 per 10,000 population. In the urban district of Saransk, it was higher than the national average and amounted to 73.7 per 10,000 population. Among the municipal districts of the republic, the highest level of provision with doctors was in Krasnoslobodsky 40.3 per 10,000 population, and the lowest in Lyambirsky 8.9 per 10,000 population [1].

The analysis of key indicators characterizing the level of development of the healthcare infrastructure showed that territorial disparities in the possibility of obtaining the necessary medical care still remain. Given these circumstances, it is necessary to continue work on:

creating conditions for ensuring optimal accessibility of primary health care for citizens, including through further construction of FAP, as well as ensuring transport accessibility of medical organizations;

retrofitting and re-equipping of primary health care medical organizations with medical equipment, in accordance with the procedures for providing medical care;

bringing the buildings of primary health care medical organizations in compliance with current regulations, etc.

Territorial differences in quantitative and qualitative parameters remain one of the unresolved problems not only in the field of healthcare, but also in the field of education, culture and sports. Over the past five years, the number of organizations carrying out educational activities on preschool educational programs, supervision and care of children has significantly decreased in rural areas, if in 2015 there were 246 of them, then in 2019 there were only 168 with a contingent of 6282 people (Figure 3) [20].

Figure 3 Dynamics of the number of organizations engaged in educational activities for preschool educational programs, supervision and care of children and the number of pupils in them (at the end of the year) [source: compiled by the author, based on the use of data 20] The undoubted leader in the number of such organizations is Zubovo-Polyansky Municipal district 36 organizations (1501 pupils).

At the end of the rating table are the Yelnikovsky, Kadoshkinsky and Temnikovsky municipal districts, in which there are only 4 organizations left. On the last line Bolsheignatovsky municipal district 2 organizations [20, p. 177].

The highest level of provision of places in organizations engaged in educational activities for educational programs of preschool education, supervision and care of children in municipalities of the Republic of Mordovia at the beginning of 2020 was in the Lyambirsky district (112 children per 100 places), Insarsky district (108 children per 100 places) and Zubovo-Polyansky district (for 100 seats 101 children) (Figure 4). The lowest values of this indicator were in Bolsheignatovsky, Kovylkinsky and Bolshebereznikovsky municipal districts.

Figure 4 Availability of places in organizations engaged in educational activities for educational programs of preschool education, supervision and care of children in municipalities of the Republic of Mordovia at the beginning of 2020 (there are pupils per 100 places), people. [source: compiled by the author, based on the use of data 20].

Since 2005, systematic work has been carried out in the republic to optimize the school educational network, as a result of which the number of rural schools has decreased. The occupancy rate of classes in general education organizations in rural areas is now 9.7 people (in urban areas 24.4 people) [2]. An analysis of infrastructure characteristics indicates that the modern network of rural schools is very heterogeneous, however, most of them are inferior to urban ones.

The cultural and leisure sphere, which has existed for a long time in conditions of a severe budget deficit, is also experiencing certain difficulties. During this time, the number of cultural and leisure-type institutions has decreased, there is a lack of modern technical equipment. Current, and in some cases, major repairs are necessary for houses of culture, libraries and other facilities.

The sports infrastructure also needs modernization. The lack of a developed network of sports and recreation facilities in many rural settlements does not allow creating comfortable conditions for sports. According to experts, one of the factors hindering the development of physical education and sports is the lack of qualified personnel (primarily coaches and instructors).

Given that most of the social infrastructure facilities are still concentrated in cities and district centers, rural settlements (especially small ones) lag far behind in the level of infrastructure provision, thereby limiting the ability of residents to meet their basic, fundamental needs. This, in turn, focuses our attention on another problem (namely, the low level of transport accessibility of such facilities for the population living far from district centers).

The results of the survey conducted in the municipalities of the republic show that the most serious problem in the organization of transport services is the lack of direct transport links between settlements within municipal districts (55.6% of the respondents noted this problem), in second place an inconvenient schedule of transport (long waiting intervals for transport, irregular traffic (34.8%)) [22]. This problem is the most significant for residents, in particular, of Ardatovsky, Bolshebereznikovsky, Yelnikovsky, Insarsky, Temnikovsky, Torbeeyevsky and a number of other municipal districts of the republic. A significant disadvantage in the organization of transport services for residents of the Atyrau, Kochkurovsky, ZubovoPolyansky, Ruzaevsky and Chamzinsky municipal districts is an inconvenient traffic schedule.

The reasons for the negative trends are largely due to the underestimation of the role of social infrastructure, the predominance of subsidization of local budgets, a fairly long period of its financing on a residual basis, as well as the high level of cost of integrated development of rural areas due to the finely dispersed nature of rural settlement, etc. But even now, according to experts, investments in infrastructure development are still insufficient, most of them go to maintaining existing facilities [7].

Conclusions or conclusion. Under the circumstances, it is necessary to continue work on the construction, bringing infrastructure facilities in line with modern requirements (well-being, safety, efficiency, durability), ensuring the balanced development of social infrastructure systems, as well as increasing their accessibility to the population. Smoothing out infrastructural imbalances and increasing the infrastructural potential of rural areas of the republic will largely contribute to the construction of socio-cultural complexes capable of providing multidisciplinary services to the population and the development of mobile forms of providing services, including in the field of culture and healthcare. It is also important to turn to the experience of other regions, namely the use of their best practices, in order to create conditions in the republic for increasing the share of projects implemented using public-private partnership mechanisms, as well as initiative budgeting. Given the complexity of the accumulated problems, special attention should be paid to improving the regulatory framework for the development of rural social infrastructure, creating conditions for attracting investment in the social sphere of the village.



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