Deputy PM pledges to increase state welfare benefit to 700 baht

Not to be outdone by Pheu Thai Party (PTP) election promises Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon pledged to increase state welfare scheme benefits if he becomes prime minister in May.

The PTP, led by Paetongtarn Shinawatra, vows to increase the daily minimum wage for Thai workers to 600-baht, introduce a 25,000-baht salary for graduates by 2027 and reduce utility bills, among other pledges.

Not to be beaten, Deputy PM Prawit, and Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) leader, yesterday promised to raise state welfare scheme benefits to 700 baht per month if his party returns to power in the next General Election.

Gen Prawit added that his government aims to overcome poverty and reduce social inequality, deliver effective policies on water management and land allocation, as well as crackdowns on human trafficking.

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“The party will carry on with existing policies that have proven beneficial to the public and initiate new ones to serve the public’s best interests.

“The party will continue with the state welfare scheme and increase the benefits afforded by the state welfare card to 700 baht a month if the party leads the next government after the poll.

“We are ready to cooperate with all sides to find a solution [to conflicts] and steer the country towards the best possible goals. The country must be peaceful and prosperous.”

The 77 year old was asked whether he is ready to become the next Thailand PM.

“I am, if the voters support me.”

Santi Promphat, the Deputy Finance Minister and Secretary-General of the PPRP, stated that the state welfare program has been in place for four years to assist individuals at the grassroots level and vulnerable groups.

“The number of holders of state welfare cards is expected to increase to 18 million this year, accounting for a quarter of the population, he added.

“Gen Prawit said the 200-300 baht of benefits now available under the state welfare scheme is insufficient to cover the rising cost of living.

“Based on feedback from cardholders, the party believes another 500 baht should be added to the card’s value to help them make ends meet.

“About 12 billion baht per month, or 150 billion baht a year, would be needed to finance the increased subsidy.

“The money will be drawn from the last three months (July-September) of the 2023 fiscal budget.

“Cardholders will receive 700 baht per month once the PPRP wins the people’s mandate to run the country again.”

Currently, cardholders earning less than 30,000 baht per year receive 300 baht per month, while those earning between 30,000 and 100,000 baht receive 200 baht per month.

According to a source at the Finance Ministry, there is potential to increase these benefits to 700 baht per month for low-income earners and 500 baht per month for those earning between 30,000 and 100,000 baht.

The latest registration period saw 21.5 million Thai citizens apply for these cards.

The Finance Ministry is collaborating with 43 state agencies to review the qualifications of the latest round of applicants to ensure that the financial assistance scheme reaches the intended groups.

The final list of qualified registrants will be announced on March 1. Currently, there are 13.5 million cardholders, and all current cardholders must re-register during any new application rounds.

To be eligible, an individual must be a Thai citizen over 18 years old, with an annual income of less than 100,000 baht and an average household income not exceeding 100,000 baht per year per person.

Meanwhile, PM’s Office Minister Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana stated that he anticipates the House of Representatives to be dissolved after the final parliamentary session concludes on February 28.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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