Why should Govt give handouts to everyone?

Indubitably, the less fortunate, deprived, sick, handicapped and lower-salaried workers must be given a helping hand by the state.
Indubitably, the less fortunate, deprived, sick, handicapped and lower-salaried workers must be given a helping hand by the state.PHOTO: ST FILE

Policies involving the application of universal basic income are instituted with a broad brush (It's time to talk about a universal basic income, March 6).

Yes, they are simple to administer, will help those displaced by disruptive technology and may even enable creative endeavours not otherwise possible.

But why give an unqualified windfall to all and sundry, regardless of need, circumstances or motivation to strive for a better life?

Indubitably, the less fortunate, deprived, sick, handicapped and lower-salaried workers must be given a helping hand by the state.

But such financial aid must be targeted to be meaningful and work effectively.

With a good social welfare infrastructure under the umbrella of the National Council of Social Service, its complex administration in our small and smart nation is manageable, unlike with sprawled out populations in large countries, where those who need the most help may find it inaccessible.

We can't possibly continually give handouts to the able-bodied displaced by disruptive technology as this indicates the unremitting theme of things to come.

But retraining those eager to start afresh, of which schemes are aplenty here, and teaching them to fish again, will give them an occupation to provide food for a lifetime.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2019, with the headline 'Why should Govt give handouts to everyone?'. Print Edition | Subscribe