Regime makes hay while sun shines

Regime makes hay while sun shines

Critics see new govt-led campaign as veiled populism, write Aekarach Sattaburuth and Wassana Nanuam

While Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has kept mum on his political ambitions, since February he has made several trips to the provinces to boost his Thai Niyom Yangyuen (Sustainable Thai-ness) grassroots economic stimulus programme. (File photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
While Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has kept mum on his political ambitions, since February he has made several trips to the provinces to boost his Thai Niyom Yangyuen (Sustainable Thai-ness) grassroots economic stimulus programme. (File photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

As the general election approaches, critics say a government-led plan to stimulate the economy from the grassroots level is being used as a vehicle to canvass support for the regime while political parties are still straitjacketed by a blanket ban on most political activities.

Launched in February, the Thai Niyom Yangyuen (sustainable Thai-ness) campaign aims to deliver up to 200,000 baht in cash to each of 82,371 villages across the country to develop local businesses and improve living conditions in a sustainable way.

The campaign will run for four months and was initially budgeted at 16.4 billion baht, before the government opted earlier this month to raise the total cap to 100 billion baht.

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