First youth divided provided by S. Korean provincial government
Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung
Next year, Gyeonggi Province will be paying a “youth dividend” of 1 million won (US$889) to all young people of a certain age, the first such payment by a provincial government in South Korea. The youth dividend that was first introduced by the city of Seongnam in 2015 is now spreading across the entire province.
During a press conference at the Gyeonggi Provincial Office on Nov. 5 that unveiled the province’s 2019 budget of 24.36 trillion won (US$21.6 billion), Governor Lee Jae-myung announced that he would be implementing a youth dividend. The youth dividend is a universal welfare policy that takes the form of a basic income paid to young people, regardless of their assets. The 175,000 24-year-olds living in Gyeonggi Province will be paid 250,000 won (US$222) in local currency each quarter, for a total of 1 million won a year.
Gyeonggi Province has set aside 175.3 billion won (US$156 million) of its 2019 budget to fund this program. The cost will be split by Gyeonggi Province and its constituent cities and counties at a ratio of seven to three, with the province paying 122.7 billion won (US$109.2 million) and the cities and counties paying 52.6 billion won (US$46.8 million).
Along with the youth dividend, the other two planks in Lee Jae-myung’s free welfare platform, namely free school uniforms and public postpartum care centers, were also allocated funding in next year’s budget. This means that the three free welfare programs that were launched in Seongnam will now be implemented throughout Gyeonggi Province.
“Whereas the funding for postpartum care constitutes a kind of basic income for newborns, the youth dividend is a type of basic income for young people. I want to expand this to all young people [and not just 24-year-olds] to create a basic income for the youth,” Lee said.
Expanding what have become known as Gyeonggi Province’s three free welfare programs will require consultation with the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Toward this end, the province announced that it had been deliberating with the Ministry about setting up a social welfare system since Oct. 12.
By Hong Yong-duk, South Gyeonggi correspondent
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