President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday reiterated his vision of building an “inclusive state” with stronger support across all dimensions of society, from child care and education to employment.
“South Korea becoming an innovative, inclusive state means growing together through innovation, and everyone sharing in the benefits of growth through inclusion,” Moon said, speaking at an event to announce the government’s welfare measures and policy goals.
|President Moon Jae-in speaks at the event highlighting the governmnet`s measures for creating an inclusive society in Seoul on Tuesday. Yonhap|
Adding that neither innovative growth nor an inclusive state can exist without the other, Moon went on to stress the mantra of a “people-centric” society.
As innovative growth and an inclusive state are both centered on people, Moon said that in an inclusive state the individual capabilities of each person are important.
“The individual’s capabilities can be improved through (the ability to be) educated to one’s (full potential), resting sufficiently with the family and maintaining a basic level of living. This capability will be the driving force of sustainable growth in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.”
Moon stressed that an inclusive state is not a society where the government or the rich provide for the poor, but a country where members of society support each other.
Saying the Korean government had introduced social services 20 years ago during the Kim Dae-jung administration to ensure a basic standard of living, Moon added that the country had by now advanced sufficiently to warrant a higher and more comprehensive level of welfare.
“The plans announced today are aimed at providing support at all stages of life, from child care to education, employment and old age,” Moon said.
“All areas, from health and safety, income and environment to housing, are subjects (of government plans).”
In his speech, Moon also called for the National Assembly’s support, saying budgetary and legislative support are vital to achieving the goals.
“The government will draw up midterm financial plans during the first half of the year, and prepare budget (plans) and legislation through close cooperation among the party, government and Cheong Wa Dae,” Moon said, adding that happiness is a right.
At the event, concerned ministries outlined the measures already in place and the changes that will soon be on the way as a result of the new policy direction.
As part of related plans, the government intends to continue increasing state-operated child care services and subsidies.
The plans include raising the proportion of preschool children at state-run kindergartens and child care facilities to 40 percent by 2021, and to expand services for elementary schoolchildren.
Subsidies for one-parent families will also be expanded, and a wider range of services for severely disabled citizens will be made available.
In the field of education, the government is working on making high school education free by 2021 and introducing measures to nurture “creative talent” at the high school and higher education levels.
Plans related to the labor market include increasing the amount paid to fathers on paternity leave as part of plans to prevent women’s careers from being cut short due to an unbalanced division of labor at home.
Other related plans include expanding subsidies for young people working in small and midsized enterprises, rolling out measures to support small merchants and creating additional public-sector jobs in fields that will include emergency services and welfare.
Health- and welfare-related measures include offering more services and support for older people with age-related dementia.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)