The government is being advised to update the database of welfare cardholders every year to ensure state assistance goes to low-income earners.
Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), said the state welfare card scheme is very useful and this aid measure should be continued to help low-income earners.
The Finance Ministry is preparing a new round of registration for the state welfare cards and revising the eligibility criteria.
The new round of registration is scheduled to open early next year.
There are 13.7 million state welfare cardholders.
The number of poor people is expected to increase to 15 million next year because of the prolonged impact of Covid-19, said Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat.
The new criteria should ensure cardholders receive more benefits, he said.
Present rules require eligible card recipients to be Thai and aged 18 or older.
Annual income must not exceed 100,000 baht and the criteria also cover ownership of certain assets.
For the new criteria, the annual income of all family members will be taken into account, said Mr Santi.
Total earnings of a family must not exceed 200,000 baht.
According to Mr Danucha, the Finance and Labour ministries share data to review state welfare eligibility and prevent duplication so the scheme can truly benefit low-income people.
He also urged the government to implement career development projects or training programmes to upgrade skills for low-income earners, helping them to increase income over the long term.
Jinanggoon Rojananan, deputy secretary-general of the NESDC, said people below the poverty line — defined as income of 2,762 baht per month — totalled 4.8 million in 2020.Internet Explorer Channel Network