Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


In light of the upcoming Budget 2019 announcement, Senior Research Fellow Dr Faizal bin Yahya and Research Assistant Mr Shazly Zain, both from the Institute of Policy Studies at NUS, provided suggestions on how Budget 2019 can help boost company digitalisation, particularly for small companies in Singapore. In the opinion piece published in The Business Times on 7 February, the duo noted that the adoption of digital solutions by small firms remains slow despite the introduction of digitalisation efforts since Budget 2016, and that only 56 per cent of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have digital transformation strategies in place. As the cost of digitalisation is high, especially for SMEs, they highlighted the need for Budget 2019 to channel resources into deepening government and industry collaboration to help these companies gain access to effective digitalisation. This includes providing information and grants for the adoption of new technologies and promoting R&D in the potential growth sectors.  

Mr Vinod Rai, Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at the NUS Institute of South Asian Studies, on the other hand, wrote a commentary on India’s 2019 Budget announcement which was also published in The Business Times on 7 February. He said that the Modi government steered away from the tradition of a pre-election budget announcement in India and presented a full year Budget proposal. The announcement included schemes that will benefit at least 130 million low-income workers and 120 million farmer families, which appear to have been designed to entice voters in this income segment. Mr Rai then cautioned that the bold, vote-catching initiatives would be a cause of concern for the incoming government if India’s revenue estimates are not met by the end of March 2019.

In another commentary published in The Straits Times on 8 February, NUS Medicine Associate Professor Sophia Archuleta and Adjunct Assistant Professor Wong Chen Seong stressed the need to change societal perceptions of people living with HIV, and debunked common misconceptions about the condition. They shared that HIV infection does not discriminate and cannot be transmitted through casual contact, and that people living with HIV can continue to lead healthy, happy and productive lives of normal life expectancy if they are started on, and remain on, effective anti-retroviral therapy. As such, they believe that society as a whole must build a strong and trusting relationship with people living with HIV, and work towards building an inclusive environment for them to thrive in.      

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