State welfare card-holders spend B11.94bn in 4 months

The Comptroller General's Department says low income earners registered to receive state welfare have already spent 11.94 billion baht from their cash cards to buy basic commodities necessary for daily life since they received the cards from the government.

The government has distributed cash cards to 10.9 million low income earners, or 95.3% from a total registered 11.4 million low-income earners since October last year.

Deputy director-general of the department Yanee Sangsrichun said the state welfare cards were distributed to low-earners to help ease their cost of living.

She said of the total 11.4 million people qualified for the cards, 10.9 million have been given the cards to use, or 95.3% since October last yeat to end of January.

They have spent the cards to buy basic commodities worth 11.82 billion baht from Blue Flag outlets; 14.3 million baht to buy cooking gas; 38.2 million baht for bus travel; and 65.3 million baht for train travel, she said.

She also said the government has already installed 20,272 electronic data capture (EDC) machines to facilitate cash card payments, 18,789 of which at Blue Flag outlets, 828 at cooking gas shops, 534 at train stations, and 121 at bus terminals.

But to further facilitate cash card holders, the Ministry of Finance planned to stall an additional 10,000 machines at Blue Flag outlets, and 10,000 more at village fund offices.

The cash card is worth between 1,700 and 1,800 baht a month, including 500 baht allowances for the use of Bangkok-based bus, MRT and BTS systems.

In other provinces, these cards will have the value of between 1,200 and 1,300 baht a month as people in the provinces have no need to use public transport in Bangkok.

People earning no more than 100,000 baht is described by the government as low-income earners.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)