Number of poor people to reach 15m next year

Number of poor people to reach 15m next year

State welfare cardholders are pictured in a queue as they wait to make purchases under the 'We Win' scheme in February this year outside Siam Rattana supermarket in the capital's Wong Wien Yai area. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
State welfare cardholders are pictured in a queue as they wait to make purchases under the 'We Win' scheme in February this year outside Siam Rattana supermarket in the capital's Wong Wien Yai area. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The number of the poor in Thailand is expected to increase to 15 million next year from the current level of almost 14 million because of the impact of the prolonged Covid-19 outbreak, said Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat.

The ministry will open for a new round of registration for state welfare cards early next year and will revise the criteria of who are eligible to be cardholders.

Mr Santi said the ministry expects the number of the poor who will be qualified for the cards will increase by 1-2 million in this new registration round.

Currently there are 13.65 million state welfare cardholders. The eligible card recipients must be Thais, aged 18 or above. Their annual income must not exceed 100,000 baht.

The existing cardholders will also be required to complete a registration in this latest round.

The ministry is determining additional criteria to screen people eligible to get the state welfare cards. Currently the criteria cover only their income and their ownership of certain assets, such as land plots.

The ministry might add another asset, such as a car, to the list. The ministry will work with other state agencies to examine their asset ownership. The new criteria will be proposed to the cabinet for approval.

Mr Santi added that the ministry will also take into consideration the average household income of the prospective cardholders in this new registration round.

There is a case that in a household, a husband has high salary but his wife has no salary. This means the wife is qualified to get the card.

In this new registration round, if any family member has a household average income exceeding 100,000 baht per family member per year, that member will not be qualified to get the card.

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