Social safety nets: Thumbs up for shared responsibility

Social safety nets: Thumbs up for shared responsibility

The promise to strengthen social safety nets - with the Government sharing the responsibility with citizens - was welcomed by public policy observers like health economist Phua Kai Hong.

The overriding philosophy in the past 10 to 20 years was always about personal responsibility, said the associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

But this was too far right towards individualism, he said, adding: "What is significant now is the Government's role in contributing to that 'fair share'. Now it's more balanced."

Meanwhile, Associate Professor Kalyani Mehta, who heads SIM University's gerontology programme, welcomed the pledge to improve the CPF Life annuity schemes to help the elderly.

But she felt that the help should be more integrated across different groups and government agencies.

Also, interactions between the young and old could be improved through, for instance, getting retirees to volunteer in pre-schools.

"The more we do inter-generational crossing-over into other areas, whether schools or voluntary welfare organisations, we'll have a richer society where the elderly aren't seen as people who need to be taken care of, but resources to build the next generation," she said.

This article was published on May 17 in The Straits Times.

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