Provincial poor may get transport aid

The Finance Ministry is designing a welfare scheme for those at the bottom rung of the economic ladder, with a balance between registrants who live in Bangkok, its outskirts, and provincial areas to even out treatment.

Apisak: Trying to even out benefits

For public transportation, registrants who live in Bangkok and vicinity are thought to receive better benefits than those who live in provincial areas, said Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong. The ministry wants to offer some transport welfare such as interprovincial trains and buses to people living in the provinces.

The government kicked off registration for welfare and subsidies to the poor under the national e-payment system yesterday. It will run through May 15 at Krungthai Bank, the Government Savings Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.

To be eligible for the government’s welfare and subsidy scheme, applicants must be unemployed or have annual income of no more than 100,000 baht last year. They must also have savings, bonds and savings certificates worth less than 100,000 baht combined.

If applicants own property, the space must not exceed 35 square metres for a condo unit, 25 square wah for a townhouse and 10 rai for land for agricultural purposes.

Applicants must be Thai nationals aged 18 or older.

Those who already registered for the scheme last year are required to sign up again to update their information. Mr Apisak estimated over 10 million people will sign up for the scheme this year, up from 8.27 million last year. Some 285,000 people registered yesterday.

Recipients will be entitled to free rides on trains and public buses, and free tap water and electricity. They will receive chip card for direct receipt of benefits.

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