Needy school fund set up

Needy school fund set up

The cabinet yesterday approved setting up an education fund with an initial budget of 1 billion baht to help finance the schooling of low-income earners' children.

Kobsak Phutrakul, assistant minister to the Prime Minister's Office, said the new fund aims to reduce the income gap and help poor families access educational opportunities, which can improve their quality of life.

The cabinet yesterday also approved a draft bill to promote equality in education, especially for the 4.3 million children of low-income earners. Apart from initial funding of 1 billion baht, the draft bill calls for the government to allocate 5% of the fiscal budget of the Education Ministry, or around 25 billion baht a year, to the fund.

Taxpayers and businesses can also contribute to the fund in exchange for tax deductions.

Mr Kobsak said the government will establish a committee to manage the fund.

In a separate development, the cabinet also approved an ease of doing business action plan for fiscal 2018.

The government aims to rank second in Asean in the World Bank's next ease of doing business rankings for 2019 after the country rose to 26th in the 2018 list from 48th for 2017.

Suvit Maesincee, the PM's Office Minister, said earlier this year to achieve the goal the government is committed to continuing bureaucratic reforms, especially in the service sector, legal reforms, and government digitalisation.

The priorities are customs service, the cadastral survey, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval process and education management.

The Customs Department has been required to cut its import-export procedures for strategic goods such as rubber, rice, sugar and frozen foods to one hour from 60 days, and six months for hazardous goods procedures.

The FDA is required to shorten the registration process for drugs and food to 220 days from 280 days, while the Intellectual Property Department needs to speed up registration for 30,000 pending intellectual property and patent applications by early 2019.

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