Cabinet endorses 13.2 billion baht giveaways for welfare card holders

The Thai Cabinet has approved 13.2 billion baht in handouts for low income-earners, including parents with children still in school, farmers and disabled people, under the welfare card program.

At the same meeting on Tuesday, the Cabinet also agreed to launch tax packages to boost the real estate and tourism sectors.

Mr. Natthaporn Jatusripitak, an advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office Minister, said Tuesday that, under the welfare card program, low-income parents with children still at school will receive 500 baht for each child who is still a minor, while farmers who hold welfare cards will get 1,000 baht each.

Registered disabled people will receive an additional 200 baht per month and about five million registered low income-earners will each receive 500 baht, for the months of May and June, to purchase goods at Thong Fah (Blue Flag) Pracharat shops. The benefits will be paid through their welfare card accounts.

As for the tax package to stimulate the faltering real estate sector, Mr. Natthaporn said first-time house or condo buyers, valued at no more than five million baht, will be allowed to deduct 100,000 baht from their taxable incomes for the year in which the transaction took place.

To stimulate tourism, taxpayers will be allowed to deduct 15,000 baht of tourism-related expenses in main cities from their taxable incomes and 20,000 baht expenses in secondary cities.

Earlier, it was speculated that the government would give away 1,500 baht to each low income-earner so he/she can spend on travelling to boost tourism.  The idea drew widespread criticism claiming that the recipients would be likely to spend the handouts on other purposes.

The Cabinet also approved education and sports scholarships amounting to 15,000 baht per head.


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