One of the criteria used to screen applicants for the government’s “RaoChana” (We Win) monthly cash handouts will be the size of their bank accounts, a Finance Ministry source has confirmed. Successful applicants for the latest scheme to mitigate financial impacts of the fresh Covid-19 outbreak will be handed two monthly payments of Bt3,500 – but only if their savings fall below a certain minimum threshold. The ministry will keep the exact figure of the threshold secret in order to prevent applicants from transferring money out of their accounts to meet the criteria.
The scheme is focused on helping the self-employed and farmers. It follows the government's “Rao Mai Thing Kan” (We won't leave anyone behind) scheme of three monthly Bt5,000 payments, which also used savings as a criterion for eligibility.
"The government spent Bt390 billion [on Rao Mai Thing Kan], but people still protested in front of the ministry after their applications to receive Bt5,000 remedial payments were rejected. A government official found that one protester had more than Bt10 million in his account, which is why he was not eligible," said the source.
Kulaya Tantitemit, acting director of the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO), said the RaoChana screening system will first reject people under the social security system, government officials, and employees of state enterprises.
“We want to help low-income people affected by COVID-19, so those outside the social security system such as freelancers or farmers will be eligible [for the RaoChana scheme]. But anyone with a high income will be disqualified," said Kulaya.
The Finance Ministry will submit the eligibility criteria for RaoChana to Cabinet soon, before registration for the scheme opens at the end of this month. The first payments are due to be transferred to recipients in early February.
Published : January 13, 2021
By : The Nation