SEOUL, March 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's Gyeonggi province said Friday that it will conduct its stand-alone basic income experiment in rural areas later this year, the first of its kind in the country.
The provincial government said in a statement that it will perform the experiment to see how the lives of residents are affected by basic income and use the empirical data gathered for the introduction of basic income in the future.
"We will pursue consultations with the Ministry of Health and Welfare on social security systems in line with the enactment of the ordinance, and will do our utmost to select the experiment area and pay basic income by the second half of this year," said Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung.
The provincial government announced legislation on March 4 for the enactment of the ordinance on the rural basic income social experiment, and began preparations to proceed with the project.
The rural basic income is an experiment in which all rural residents of a given area receive the same regular payment in local currency for the enhancement of economic freedom and happiness regardless of their income levels, assets or employment status, the provincial government said.
"Rural communities, facing the risks of shrinking and aging populations, need to ensure sustainability as future food sources and induce economic revitalization," said an official at the provincial government.
"We believe that this community-level rural basic income social experiment will provide an opportunity to form a national consensus on basic income, advancing it to the national level," the official added.
The provincial government secured a budget of 2.7 billion won (2.4 million U.S. dollars) for the experiment, engaging in advance consultations with relevant organizations, including the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Enditem