Govt. proposes 2014 budget, 30% allotted for welfare
Numbers have been crunched and the funds have been divided now all that remains to be seen is how parliament and the people react to the Park Geun-hye administration's first national budget draft.
The government says it plans to spend a total of 357.7 trillion won, or roughly 3-hundred-33 billion U.S. dollars, next year, which is a 4.6 percent increase from this year's spending.
The key word in next year's proposal is "welfare," in line with a series of welfare pledges made by the president.
More than 98 billion dollars, or nearly 30-percent of the total, is to be put aside for the welfare and health sector.
This is the largest budget allocation for health and welfare in the nation's history.
Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok, however, explained that some necessary welfare benefits had to be scaled back a little as revamping the sluggish economy remains the government's top priority.
The draft was drawn up under the premise that the economy will grow by 3.9 percent next year, which is slightly lower than the government's previous outlook.
"When planning next year's government spending, we put first priority in revitalizing the economy, creating more jobs, and stabilizing the livelihoods of the people."
Looking into other sectors, the largest allocation following welfare was roughly 54 billion for general and local administration, some 47 billion dollars for education, and more than 33 billion for national defense.
About 21 billion dollars is put aside for Social Overhead Capital or SOC, while more than 17 billion will be sliced up for agriculture, fisheries and food.
The draft was endorsed during a Cabinet meeting presided over by President Park on Thursday, and will be submitted to parliament by next Wednesday.
Han Da-eun, Arirang News.
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