Government Cuts Research and Development Budget, Raises Concerns Over Safety
Amidst a series of recent accidents, including flooding incidents in Pohang and Osong, the government has faced criticism for reducing the research and development (R&D) budget for next year. The budget for rapid aid, aimed at developing disaster response technology, has been cut by almost 90%, raising concerns over the government’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its citizens.
Data received by Democratic Party lawmaker Jang Kyung-tae from the Korea National Research Institute reveals that the Ministry of Science and ICT has slashed the budget for the ‘National Life Safety Emergency Response Research Project’ by approximately 89%. The budget for this project has been reduced from 4.125 billion won this year to 461 million won next year, marking the 9th largest decrease among the 322 items in the ministry’s R&D budget for the upcoming year.
The ‘National Life Safety Emergency Response Research Project’ was initiated in 2019 to support the development of technology for emergency response and prevention of damage during unexpected disasters and safety accidents. The project enables field ministries to expedite research and development procedures, yielding results in a matter of weeks rather than the typical year-long timeline. Many crucial tasks have been carried out through this project, such as developing technology for predicting risks like thin ice on roads, promoting forest fire prevention systems, and enhancing situational awareness.
Unfortunately, due to the budget cut, 17 ongoing projects under this initiative are now at risk of being abandoned. The Korea National Research Institute, responsible for managing the projects, has expressed the urgent need for at least 2 billion won to ensure the successful implementation and timely completion of these initiatives. Regrettably, the Ministry of Science and ICT implemented these budget cuts without any specific accounting basis.
Despite the evident impact of climate change leading to disasters and safety accidents, the reduction in public safety budgets continues to raise concerns among civil society groups. September last year witnessed the tragic flooding of an underground parking lot in Pohang, claiming the lives of seven residents. In July this year, the Osong underpass in Cheongju City was also flooded, resulting in the death of 14 individuals. Organizations advocating for life safety emphasize that protecting the lives and safety of people should be reflected in both budgetary allocation and policy decisions.
Representative Jang Kyung-tae criticized the government’s security approach, stating that while the government claims to have increased the budget for the disaster and security sector, the national budget for disaster and security has witnessed significant reductions. This, according to Jang, signifies the Yoon Seok-yeol government’s lack of concern, indifference, and incompetence towards ensuring the safety of its citizens.
As concerns grow over the potential consequences of these budget cuts, it is crucial for policies regarding life and safety to be implemented with utmost importance and consideration. The lives of the people deserve much more than mere words; they require a comprehensive approach that safeguards their well-being.
Written by Go Byeong-chan, Reporter
He won 4.125 billion → 461 million was won the next year
17 tasks including ‘flood detection’ are at risk of getting stuck
In response to the research foundation’s opinion that “at least KRW 2 billion is needed”
Ministry of Science and Technology, cuts without a specific accounting basis
President Yoon Seok-yeol visits the underground parking lot of an apartment complex in Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do, which was damaged by Typhoon Hinnamno No. 11 on the afternoon of September 7 last year, and inspects the situation. random news
Although the government has reduced next year’s research and development (R&D) budget by 16.6% compared to this year, the rapid aid budget designed to develop disaster response technology without delay has also been cut to almost 90% There are criticisms that the government is neglecting the lives and safety of the people despite a series of accidents such as the Pohang underground car park flood accident and the Osong underground car accident. According to the budget data received by the office of Democratic Party lawmaker Jang Kyung-tae from the Korea National Research Institute on the 3rd, the Ministry of Science and ICT cut the budget for the ‘National Life Safety Emergency Response Research Project’ by about 89% 4.125 billion won this year to 461 million won next year. Among the 322 items in the Ministry of Science and ICT’s research and development budget for next year, the rate of decrease is the 9th largest. The ‘National Life Safety Emergency Response Research Project’ is a project where the government supports the development of technology for emergency response or preventing the spread of damage when unexpected disasters and safety accidents occur starting in 2019. The project this produces results in urgent disaster matters by enabling field ministries to complete associated research and development initiation procedures within a few weeks, which would take more than a year if they follow normal procedures. So far, research and development tasks that have a direct impact on the safety of people’s lives have been carried out through this project, such as ‘developing technology and an information provision service for predicting the risk of thin ice on the road’ and promote. a system for predicting the spread of forest fires and developing a system for providing situational information’. Following the Pohang underground car park accident last year, the selected tasks included ‘Development of automatic control water barrier technology to prevent flooding in underground car parks of apartment complexes’, as well as ‘Development of flood depth detection and space-time analysis technology in urban areas where there is a risk of flooding based on machine learning using public CCTV, etc. 17 Two tasks were scheduled to be carried out next year as well. The Korea National Research Institute, which is in charge of the project, says 17 projects are at risk of being stranded due to this budget cut. Accordingly, the foundation expressed its opinion to the Ministry of Science and ICT that at least 2 billion won is needed to support 17 ongoing projects, saying, “For the successful implementation of this project, we need enough budgetary reflection to enable it to be launched. quickly and timely.” The Ministry of Information and Communications cut the budget without any specific basis for calculation. An official from the Ministry of Science and ICT said, “We have taken into account the impact of the government’s fiscal reduction policy and the fact that a significant portion of the investment has already been made as the project is expected to end in 2024,” and He added, “We will manage it to achieve the maximum possible results with the current budget.” he explained. Civil society groups point out that it is a problem that public safety and budgets have been cut despite disasters and safety accidents continuing to occur throughout society due to climate change. In September last year, an underground parking lot in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province flooded, killing seven residents, and in July this year, water flooded the Osong underpass in Cheongju City, North Chungcheong Province, killing 14 people. Park Soon-cheol, Secretary General of Life Safety Citizen Net, said, “The lives and safety of the people must be protected not only through words, but also through budget and policies. “For now, it’s just a budget cut, but I’m concerned that this small move could lead to a bigger disaster,” he said. “We need to implement policies with values and philosophy regarding life and safety.” Representative Jang Gyeong-tae said, “The government emphasized that it has increased the budget for the disaster and security sector, but the national budget for disaster and security has been significantly reduced despite opposition from the organizations responsible for the project.” He added, “It is clear evidence of the Yoon Seok-yeol government’s security ignorance, security indifference, and security incompetence.” he noted. Reporter Go Byeong-chan email@example.com
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