Cash rebate scheme 'too complicated'
The third phase of the Chim, Shop, Chai or "Taste, Shop, Spend" scheme reserved specially for seniors started with a whimper rather than a bang, with qualifying residents saying the scheme is too complicated for members of their age group.
Boonsue Khongthincharoen, 72, a resident of Muang district in Nakhon Ratchasima, said she is interested in joining the scheme but the registration process -- which has to be done through a smart phone -- is "too much to handle".
"My children are busy with their families and work. Can't the government come up with something simpler?" she said.
Last Tuesday, the cabinet approved the third phase of the scheme, which covers some two million more people. Out of this quota, 500,000 spots are reserved for senior citizens in a bid to make the scheme more inclusive. Registrations opened on Sunday.
The third phase of the scheme will see cash rebates handed out to registered participants, which could be spent at participating merchants anywhere in Thailand, including their home provinces.
However, participants who have registered to receive the rebates will no longer be eligible to receive the government's earlier 1,000-baht cash handout programme.
This stipulation, participants said, is part of the reason why the third phase of the scheme has failed to attract more people.
Bandit Khongthincharoen, 42, Ms Boonsue's son, said that without the 1,000-baht handout, there is no incentive for people to register for the third phase of the scheme.
"And it was really hard to register. I tried to apply in the first and second phases but failed, so I gave up," he said.
Rung Yimlamai, 39, said he has decided not to register his mother because the third phase does not include a cash handout.
"We have to spend to benefit from the cash rebate. And there is a chance we might not use this right after applying, so I opted out," he said.
As of 3.40 pm yesterday, 79,887 people registered for the third phase of the scheme -- a stark contrast to the first phase, where registration -- which was limited to one million people per day -- had to be closed after one hour.