The Social Development and Human Security Ministry is right to propose raising the income level at which families become eligible for child subsidies. Under its plans, the annual income ceiling would rise from Bt36,000 to Bt100,000, in line with the eligibility level for welfare state ID cards. More poor and vulnerable families would then receive the monthly child subsidy of Bt600.
The child subsidy project began in 2016, with monthly payments of Bt400 for every eligible child until the age of one. Last year, the ministry increased the subsidy to Bt600 until the age of three.
As a result, children’s nutrition has significantly improved. They also have better access to healthcare services while their mothers have more to spend on everyday necessities.
But an NGO is now calling on the government to make the subsidy universal and expand it to six years, arguing that child welfare is a fundamental right necessary to kids’ development.
The government may not be in a position to spend the estimated Bt30 million it would cost to subsidise Thailand’s 4.3 million young children. But I’m confident that the child subsidy programme will be fine-tuned and that we are going in the right direction by investing to strengthen the bodies and minds of our next generation.