Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has vowed to press ahead with the controversial rice pledging scheme while expressing optimism about the economic outlook for next year.
She has also acknowledged that charter change, while desirable, is a complex issue, and the public referendum which the government proposes to hold on charter change options may not go ahead in the next year.
"Amending the charter is an important issue, but not an urgent one," she said, adding that having a new constitution would be useless if it only served to deepen divisions in society.
Speaking about the government's plans for 2013, Ms Yingluck insisted the rice pledging programme can solve farmers' problems and will help boost growth and domestic purchasing power.
She had told the Commerce Ministry, which oversees the pledging scheme, to ensure the scheme is free of corruption.
The government will also take measures to improve the quality of farm products to stabilise their prices, she said.
The first policy for next year will be to introduce agricultural zoning for six key crops to boost farm incomes.
The crops are rice, tapioca, sugar cane, maize, rubber and oil palm.
Agricultural zoning refers to designations made by local jurisdictions that are intended to protect farmland and farming activities from incompatible non-farm uses.
Crop zoning will help farmers predict the quality and volume of their yields while also reducing risks from fluctuations in global prices and logistics costs, she said.
Ms Yingluck said the government will strive for a balance between exports and domestic economic strengths, which now stand at a ratio of 70:30.
The volatile global economy has prompted the government to turn towards stimulating the domestic economy to ensure growth.
Investments in infrastructure and logistics systems, which are set to expand 5% next year, would be key contributors to the nation's economy, she said.
The Commerce Ministry has predicted export growth of 9% next year, up from 3% this year.
"The public is concerned about the political situation but the government will try to make peace in society to ensure the country's development moves smoothly and meets economic projections," the prime minister said.
The government is investing 500 billion baht in infrastructure needed for water management and logistics projects. It expects those investments will help boost growth to 4.5-5.5%.
"The boost to the domestic economy will help ease the impact of fluctuations in the world economy," she said.
Ms Yingluck said the government will step up efforts to tackle corruption and improve transparency in state agencies, after Thailand was ranked 88th in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index published this month.
Regarding the government's charter rewrite bid, Ms Yingluck said she hoped the public would participate in the charter change process.
She believed the rewrite will not lead to conflict, as long as the public takes part.
The aim of the changes was to promote the public interest rather than promote the benefits of individuals, she said, adding a working committee set up by the government is deciding how best to proceed. Holding a public referendum on the charter rewrite as the government proposes must take into account various legal issues, and may not be complete in the coming year, she said.
However, Ms Yingluck said maintaining a climate of national reconciliation would be more important than pushing for the charter amendment.
About the author
Writer: Patsara Jikkham & Chatrudee Theparat