In Thailand, 15 million or over a fifth of the population now need state welfare

The number of people in Thailand who need state welfare is expected to increase to 15 million next year from the current level of almost 14 million in the fallout of the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s deputy finance minister Santi Promphat told media on November 14.

The ministry will open for a new round of registration for state welfare cards early next year and will revise the criteria of who is eligible for welfare payouts, Promphat said, adding that the number of people considered qualified for the cards will increase by between one and two million in this new registration round.

Currently, there are 13.65 million state welfare cardholders in the country. Eligible card recipients must be Thais, aged 18 or above. Their annual income must not exceed 100,000 baht ($3,060), while ownership of certain assets, such as land plots, is also taken into account.

In the new registration round, the ministry might add other assets, such as cars owned, to the list, and base the welfare eligibility on the average household income of prospective cardholders rather than on individual persons.

“The poor” versus “people living below the poverty line”

However, while the deputy finance minister was referring to “the poor” in his announcement, it doesn’t mean that Thailand’s poverty rate has skyrocketed to 15 million which would constitute more than 21 per cent of the entire population living below the poverty line.

Welfare recipients are not tantamount to people living in poverty as per international guidelines of the World Bank.

The World Bank currently defines the poverty line in upper-middle income economies such as Thailand as a daily income of $5.50, or 180 baht, per person, clearly less than the Thai welfare card threshold.

Dim outlook for better living conditions

According to this standard, the number of people living below the poverty line in Thailand was 5.2 million in 2020, up from 3.7 million in 2019 as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, World Bank data released earlier this year showed.  So, in fact, the poverty ratio increased to 7.4 per cent in 2020, up from 5.3 per cent in 2019, based on a total population of 69.8 million as of 2020.

And the outlook for 2021 still remains dim. While the World Bank initially expected the number of Thai people living below the poverty line to decline to five million in 2021 amid a recovery in employment as the country’s economy is expected to eventually rebound from the Covid-19 blowback, the slow uptick in manufacturing, tourism and services is telling a different story.



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The number of people in Thailand who need state welfare is expected to increase to 15 million next year from the current level of almost 14 million in the fallout of the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s deputy finance minister Santi Promphat told media on November 14. The ministry will open for a new round of registration for state welfare cards early next year and will revise the criteria of who is eligible for welfare payouts, Promphat said, adding that the number of people considered qualified for the cards will increase by between one and two million in this new...

The number of people in Thailand who need state welfare is expected to increase to 15 million next year from the current level of almost 14 million in the fallout of the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s deputy finance minister Santi Promphat told media on November 14.

The ministry will open for a new round of registration for state welfare cards early next year and will revise the criteria of who is eligible for welfare payouts, Promphat said, adding that the number of people considered qualified for the cards will increase by between one and two million in this new registration round.

Currently, there are 13.65 million state welfare cardholders in the country. Eligible card recipients must be Thais, aged 18 or above. Their annual income must not exceed 100,000 baht ($3,060), while ownership of certain assets, such as land plots, is also taken into account.

In the new registration round, the ministry might add other assets, such as cars owned, to the list, and base the welfare eligibility on the average household income of prospective cardholders rather than on individual persons.

“The poor” versus “people living below the poverty line”

However, while the deputy finance minister was referring to “the poor” in his announcement, it doesn’t mean that Thailand’s poverty rate has skyrocketed to 15 million which would constitute more than 21 per cent of the entire population living below the poverty line.

Welfare recipients are not tantamount to people living in poverty as per international guidelines of the World Bank.

The World Bank currently defines the poverty line in upper-middle income economies such as Thailand as a daily income of $5.50, or 180 baht, per person, clearly less than the Thai welfare card threshold.

Dim outlook for better living conditions

According to this standard, the number of people living below the poverty line in Thailand was 5.2 million in 2020, up from 3.7 million in 2019 as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, World Bank data released earlier this year showed.  So, in fact, the poverty ratio increased to 7.4 per cent in 2020, up from 5.3 per cent in 2019, based on a total population of 69.8 million as of 2020.

And the outlook for 2021 still remains dim. While the World Bank initially expected the number of Thai people living below the poverty line to decline to five million in 2021 amid a recovery in employment as the country’s economy is expected to eventually rebound from the Covid-19 blowback, the slow uptick in manufacturing, tourism and services is telling a different story.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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