Elderly bill set to be clear by NLA
2% of sin tax to be allocated to extra Bt100 subsidy for low-income seniors.
A CRUCIAL draft law for government-provided elderly care looks set to sail through the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) today.
The NLA will conduct the second and third readings of the Elderly Bill, which seeks to allocate 2 per cent of “sin taxes” to improve welfare provisions for senior citizens. The allocated funds will be capped at Bt4 billion per year.
In the first reading, the draft won overwhelming support. If the bill is passed, low-income elderly people will receive an extra Bt100 every month from the government. That increase will be on top of the monthly subsidy of between Bt600 and Bt1,000 that the government currently provides to people older than 60, regardless of their social and economic status, as long as they are registered for financial support.
The subsidy is scaled according to the person’s age. “The additional subsidy is not for everyone. It’s for the elderly who have registered themselves as low-income earners only,” Admiral Polawat Sirodom said yesterday in his capacity as the chair of the NLA ad hoc committee vetting the bill. He said the bill when implemented would provide up to Bt4 billion for the Elderly Fund to take better care of Thailand’s growing elderly population. The bill will allocate 2 per cent of sin taxes capped at Bt4 billion to the fund each year with proceeds exceeding the cap going to state coffers, a source said.
“Of the Bt4 billion from the sin taxes, Bt2.6 billion will go to subsidy payments while the rest will go to elderly welfare,” the source said. For example, the budget will be used to repair elderly people’s houses, provide care for bed-bound people and fund activities that are held for senior citizens’ benefit.
The Cabinet proposed the bill to the NLA based on the recognition that the existing Elderly Fund does not have an adequate budget for comprehensive protection and empowerment of the elderly, particularly in light of the fact that the country has become an ageing society. At present, there are more than 10.3 million Thais aged more than 60 years old in Thailand. In other words, senior citizens account for about one-sixth of the total population. Source: Nation News