Posted : 2013-02-21 19:34
Updated : 2013-02-21 19:34

Senior citizens will get state allowances

A stamp bearing the likeness of incoming President Park Geun-hye is showcased at Korea Post in Seoul, Thursday. The stamp is part of a set to celebrate her inauguration as the 18th President of the Republic of Korea, Monday. Yonhap

Park to weaken prosecution, raise military budget

By Kim Tae-gyu

Beginning next July, those aged 65 or above will receive monthly state allowances of between 140,000 won and 200,000 won on top of their national pension

The incoming Park Geun-hye administration will also do away with the Central Investigation Department (CID) at the Supreme Prosecutors' Office, an arm often used for political vendettas by those in power. Park takes office Monday.

The defense budget will get a bigger boost than the average annual increase at a time when North Korea is claiming it is a nuclear-weapons state.

The presidential transition team announced these plans Thursday as part of its national agenda goals for the next five years.

It presented five major missions along with 21 strategies and 140 specific items under the catchphrase, "The happiness of the people, a new era of hope."

Included in the five tasks are a creative economy centered on jobs; tailor-made employment and welfare; creative education and culture; safe and integrated society; and preparation for peaceful unification.

The so-called democratization of the economy, which was one of the significant campaign pledges of Park, was excluded from the five main goals but remains a key policy target for her economic management.

"The scale of our economy is comparable to those of advanced countries but the level of happiness of individuals is still low," transition team chief Kim Yong-joon said.

"It is a time to create a society with a virtuous circle where people's happiness and national development boost each other so that we can be a role model for a happy global village. It is a mission for the Park Geun-hye administration."

The next government is to immediately establish a fund, which will start to provide the additional payments to the elderly. As opposed to the original idea of taking advantage of money in the National Pension Fund, it will be financed by taxpayers.

Among those aged over 65, around 3 million who are at the bottom 70 percent of income brackets and who don't subscribe to the National Pension Service will receive 200,000 won in state allowances every month. Allowances will be different between 140,000 to 200,000 won for others depending on their pension benefits and income.

The CID has been at issue amid mounting accusations of it being an overly politicized entity. Its functions will be delegated to district prosecutors' office.

Military expenditures will be higher than before in the face of the rising threats from North Korea, which carried out its third nuclear test despite strong opposition from the international community.

Along the same line, the implementation of Park's campaign pledge of reducing the mandatory military service period by three months to 18 months might be delayed as the transition team put it on the list mid- to long-term projects.

The total amount required to execute Park's pledges was estimated at 134.5 trillion won according to the transition committee.

Meanwhile, the new government will strive to execute approximately 80 percent of its campaign pledges related to people's livelihood within four months after her inauguration.

A source at the transition team said that the next government will work on more than 160 campaign pledges out of 210 during the first half of this year.

Included in the fast-track implementation will be how to grapple with the surging household debt.

Asia's fourth-largest economy is grappling with rising number of "house poor" — their property is valued at below the purchase price, as the real estate market slumped after the global financial crisis in 2008.

"We are required to deal with difficult tasks with great ripple effects from the beginning," Park told her top lieutenants early this week who reported on the main policies of the new administration.

"To become a successful government, we have to focus on tough tasks, which are very difficult to accomplish."

The transition team will be dissolved today after several weeks of preparation to usher in the new administration.

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