Democrats lay out national 'Blueprint'

The Democrat Party yesterday unveiled a national development "blueprint" to provide alternatives to the government's populist policies.

Speaking at the party's annual assembly yesterday, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the party has set up the Future Innovative Thailand Institute to develop sustainable development plans.

The institute, headed by former Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan, aims to set national development targets and propose ways to achieve them by 2020.

The blueprint will address three issues _ education, economy and corruption.

Mr Abhisit said that despite the party's policy of 15 years of free education for children, a party survey found that only half of 10 students managed to finish high school. Furthermore, only two of five students who finished high school pursued higher education, and only half of university graduates could find jobs relevant to their education. He said this must be addressed urgently and the national development blueprint will come up with an education system which will take care of children from birth.

He said a project would be launched to renovate old town areas, which will link with a plan to revitalise the economy and to reach people in the informal sector.

There are also plans to develop small sustainable tourism and small-scale transport systems.

As for efforts to tackle corruption, a watchdog project called Ta Sapparot (pineapple eyes) will be introduced to train residents to watch for and prevent corruption involving state projects.

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Writer: Mongkol Bangprapa
Position: Reporter