By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
EXPERTS have accused the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat Party of presenting populist policies that would lavish huge sums on voters and leave the country bankrupt.
Dr Suphat Hasuwankit, director of Chana Hospital and a member of the Rural Doctors Society, said the country’s treasury could be stretched to the limit by the party’s “Manda Pracharat” policy which would cost Bt126 billion annually for six years.
According to Phalang Pracharat leader Uttama Savanayana, who explained the policy on Facebook on Tuesday, Manda Pracharat would provide monthly subsidies to children from the foetal stage until they are six years old.
Bt181,000 per year per child
Women would be given Bt3,000 per month for all nine months of their pregnancy and another Bt10,000 to cover delivery expenses. After birth, the child will be provided a monthly subsidy of Bt2,000 until it turns six. Each family would receive a total Bt181,000 per child.
Despite praising the concept in theory, Suphat said in practice the policy would use up a significant portion of the yearly national budget and end up dragging the country into a financial crisis.
“I don’t know if Phalang Pracharat did the maths before announcing this policy, because according to Public Health Ministry statistics, some 700,000 babies are born in Thailand every year,” he said.
“If we multiply this by the Bt181,000 subsidy per child, then the government will have to spend more than Bt126 billion per year.”
He pointed out that this amount was much higher than the Bt180 billion earmarked every year for the Universal Healthcare scheme, which covers 47 million people.
“I agree that every party needs to come up with policies to win votes, but this one is not only going to bankrupt our country; it clearly looks like Phalang Pracharat is planning to use our tax money to buy votes,” he said.
Uttama defended the policy, however, saying his party’s aim was to invest in building a quality human-resource capital by offering financial aid to families so they are able to better raise their children.
“Each child represents invaluable ‘capital’ for the nation, so it is our priority to invest in developing good human resources,” Uttama said.
“Though we need to do more, ensuring good care in children’s first six years will help create a firm foundation for further development later.”
Uttama, who served as industry minister before stepping down to lead the party, said Phalang Pracharat had already worked out where the funds would come from and that the details would be disclosed soon.
The pro-junta Phalang Pracharat Party has launched its “Manda Pracharat” or “Mother Pracharat” policy, pledging funding for every child from the foetal stage to six years old. Details:
Source: Palang Pracharat Party