SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon proposed creating an organization involving rival parties and central and local governments Thursday that would discuss his controversial plan of providing direct cash benefits to young and unemployed people.
In October, Park announced the plan to provide an average 500,000 won (US$428) a month for up to six months to about 3,000 unemployed young adults each in the capital city, as part of the municipal government’s five-year measures for supporting the employment of the young generation.
Park’s proposal, however, sparked debate among political parties with the ruling party calling it a populist idea ahead of the general elections slated for next April. The central government has also opposed the move.
Park, who was elected with strong support from liberal supporters, is a member of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy.
“I propose creating an organization with the participation of the central government, the National Assembly, rival parties, youth organizations and local governments,” Park told reporters.
Under Park’s proposal, some 3,000 people aged between 19 and 29 in the low-income bracket will benefit from the plan starting in the second half of 2016 on a trial basis. Nearly 50 billion won is estimated to be required to execute the plan between 2016 and 2020.
“Youth policy should be created under the name of integration not division since it is directly related to the life and future of the youth,” Park said.
Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan earlier said the government will utilize all available means to block the move, noting regional and district governments are required to consult with the central government before introducing a new welfare program.
The minister insisted a real solution to the problem of youth unemployment is creating more jobs.