The Cabinet yesterday failed in a meeting to approve a proposal that would have qualified an additional 97,000 households, or 240,000 people, for monthly subsistence allowances and would have subsidized health insurance premiums, national pension premiums and tuition fees.
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) requested further discussions on the amendment to the Social Assistance Act (社會救助法) and that it be brought back to the Cabinet for approval in two weeks, Executive Yuan Spokesman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) told a press conference following the weekly Cabinet meeting.
The amendment proposed by the Ministry of the Interior would alter the definition of the poverty level, which would now include an additional 19,929 families, or 52,532 people, in the category of low-income persons.
It also suggested that near-poor families be included in a project under which the government would subsidize health insurance premiums, national pension premiums and tuition fees.
The project, which covers middle to low-income households, would be extended to about 77,000 households, or 188,000 people. Under the proposal, the ministry estimated that the central government and local governments would need to disburse an additional NT$3.33 billion (US$ 104 million) to cover the expansion of subsidies.
Asked why the draft failed to clear the meeting, Minister-without-Portfolio James Hsueh (薛承泰) said by telephone that Wu wanted to hear from local governments about the potential impact the proposed revisions would have on their finances, given their already strained budget.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) said the ministry understood that local governments needed to know more about the proposal before it could be implemented because they would be the ones applying the law.
Chien said government agencies would call a meeting with local governments to determine what changes should be made to the revision and resubmit the revisions to the Cabinet for approval in two weeks.
The Cabinet meeting also approved an amendment to the Sports Lottery Issue Act (運動彩券發行條例) that will increase penalties to prevent match-fixers from fixing game using the sports lottery by setting a minimum fine of NT$5 million.
Also approved was an amendment to the Act Governing International Financial Business (國際金融業務條例) to provide a legal basis by which investment gains made on trading in structured notes through offshore banking units can be taxc-exempt.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LOA IOK-SIN
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up