Regime to cut utility bills for poor
The government plans to roll out electricity and water subsidies for low income families to mark the coming New Year, according to Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong.
Details of the subsidy including whether it will be confined to Bangkok or rolled out nationwide are still pending.
Mr Apisak said the government would provide help, anticipated to be in the form of a rebate, to cover electricity and water bills for people who earn less than 100,000 baht a year.
He said the move is meant as a New Year's gift.
The minister said the package will aim to reduce the cost of living for low-income residents, and is part of a series of welfare measures such as free rides on public buses and trains.
People must first register with the government to be entitled to the benefits, which can be done via the national e-payment service.
So far, around eight million people have registered.
Mr Apisak said the free bus ride scheme is only applicable to people living in Bangkok, and does not extend to people outside the city who commute into the centre for work.
While housing costs outside Bangkok are lower than those in the city, the ministry is designing an assistance package that would also extend to low-earners outside the capital.
Mr Apisak said the moves allow the government to help people who need it the most.
Earlier, the government announced it had extended the period of free travel on ordinary buses, or non-airconditioned buses, and trains, from Nov 1 to April 30 next year.
It was the 21st extension since the scheme was introduced eight years ago as part of the state's plan to assist the poor.
Passengers can board buses, run by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, and trains to and from the capital, operated by the State Railway of Thailand, without having to show proof of their financial status.