CHIANG RAI – Social welfare cardholders have expressed their appreciation for the additional 500-baht allowance the government has granted them as a New Year gift.
To cope with year-end expenditures, the government has resolved to give the poor and the low-income earners enrolled in the social welfare card scheme a one-off stipend of 500 baht.
In Chaing Rai Province on Sunday, cardholders could be seen lining up in front of cash machines of Krungthai Bank to check the balance of their accounts and/or withdraw their money.
Many of the cardholders said 500 baht helps with household expenses, especially at this time of year, and that the one-off allowance is a great New Year present from the government.
One of the cardholders, said her reason to visit the bank on Sunday was to check if the 500 baht had been credited to her account, adding that she would spend it on water, electricity, and other household bills, while offering her thanks to the government for devising such a useful and effective campaign to improve the well-being of the underprivileged.
Meanwhile, The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) has lauded the government’s welfare card scheme as not only beneficial to low-income earners but to retailers and the economy in general.
DIT Director-General Wichai Pochanakij estimates that welfare cards are now being used by over 11 million people nationwide, empowering them to purchase necessities at Blue Flag Pracharat stores. Most cardholders are farmers and laborers and their patronage has boosted the sales of small retailers and community shops, propping them up against heightened competition from large businesses. There are currently about 50,000 Blue Flag Pracharat stores spread out across the country.
Wichai mentioned that the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance have introduced the “Pracharat Money Bag” app to Blue Flag PRacharat stores so that they may better serve welfare card holders. The app is useful to sellers of chicken eggs, fruits and vegetables, market vendors, food vendors and mobile stores and should boost their sales.
By National News Bureau of Thailand – NNT