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Essay Question: Read Text A carefully and write an argumentative essay of about 600 words in response to the following question. Singapore government is increasing the benefits for parents to have babies due to the pandemic situation.

Some people think this is essential to boost the birth rate that has been extremely low in Singapore; however, others believe more focus should be shifted to the benefits provided to the elderly. Which view do you agree?

Use the information from the text below as well as your knowledge to support your arguments. When using the information from text A, you are expected to acknowledge the source of it.

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Singapore government has decided to increase the benefits for parents to have babies at the time of pandemic. Many people believe that it is necessary for boosting the rate of birth which has come down to an unprecedented level. 

Proponents of the idea believe that during this pandemic many citizens have started to put off parenthood as they are encountering job layoffs and financial stress (Gallagher, 2020). Therefore, an addition to the baby bonuses will be really beneficial for the citizens. It is a fact that Singapore has the lowest birth rate in the world. The government has been taking initiatives to increase this for many years. Recently, the Deputy prime minister made a statement which is really concerning the supporters of one off payment. In his statement, the deputy prime minister stated that Covid-19 had been responsible for causing many aspiring parents to procrastinate their plans of parenthood. The level of fertility was record low in the year 2018, at a rate of 1.14 births per woman. Research says this can become worse at the time of pandemic downturn (Tan, 2020). The benefits will be useful for the Singaporeans to plan their parenthoods properly, without worrying about financial problems. 

People who argue against the idea believe that more focus should be paid on the benefits given to the elderly by the government. According to them, there are considerable deficiencies in the pension system of the country in making the mission of enabling the Singaporeans saving a secure retirement successful. The central provident fund scheme only entitles a pension only to the person who has gainful employment. People having no income are generally not included in the scheme (Mukhopadhaya & Venaik, 2014). In addition, in this system, employers as well as employees has to make contributions. Therefore, it is not possible for a self-employed person to come under this system and get all the necessary benefits (Lee et al. 2020). Moreover, the present rate of contribution of central provident changes with age and depend on wage ceiling. Form 2007, the contribution level of central provident fund for any permanent resident of Singapore or a non-pensionable government employee with age 50 or below is 34.5% of the salary (Lim, 2017). However, people from labour force with 50 or above age are subject to low contribution level. Additionally, the healthcare insurance has also very low coverage with only one third of the treatment is covered by the scheme. It is therefore, important to have alternative policies and old age benefits scheme for ensuring minimum living standards for the elderly people in Singapore.