B39bn for handouts gets nod
Three-month freebie targets vulnerable
The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to set aside 39.42 billion baht to finance a new cash handout programme designed to help 13.14 million people considered extremely vulnerable to the economic hit of the Covid-19 crisis.
Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said the cabinet on Tuesdayagreed in principle to the proposal, already approved by the government's committee screening the disbursement of the 1.1-trillion-baht loan which the government aims to secure to fund its Covid-19-related rehabilitation scheme.
Three groups of people are deemed very vulnerable to the economic impact of the outbreak; young children up to six years old, 9.66 million elderly people and 2 million people with disabilities, she said.
These groups will initially be paid 1,000 baht each month for three months until July, she said.
However, the deputy spokeswoman said concerns had grown that it might be impossible to make the first payment this month. If no payment is made this month, those eligible to receive the free cash will receive 2,000 baht next month and another 1,000 baht in July, she said.
The three groups normally receive some monthly aid payments from the government. The Covid-19 financial assistance is intended to help them cope better with the severe economic impact from the pandemic, she said.
The cabinet also acknowledged a remark by the Covid-19 spending screening committee made about civil servants who also work as farmers.
A question was directed at the government earlier whether the officials-cum-farmers are eligible for the Covid-19 aid money intended for those who farm full-time and rely solely on income from farming.
Ms Rachada said it has been decided the civil servants-cum-farmers do not qualify for the money and those who had received some must return it.
She said the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and the Comptroller General's Department will work together to deduct Covid-19 money received by civil servants-cum-farmers from their payrolls. The deduction will then be returned the Finance Ministry, she said.
However, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry insisted that no civil servant-cum-farmer had been paid Covid-19 cash so far.