Welfare cards for low income earners ready for distribution 

The government will begin distributing welfare cards for low income earners this month so that they can use them to ride free bus and train and purchase other  necessities.

But the cards can not be  used to purchase products deemed as “vice”.

Starting on Sept 21, welfare cards for the poor will be distributed to low income earners who have registered their status with the government.

Card holders can start using their cards on Oct 2.  These cards provide a monthly allowance of 200-300 baht a month which entitles low income earners to purchase necessities at cheap prices at all Thong Fah or Blue Flag shops.

As of the present there are more than 4,500 registered Thong Fah shops throughout the country.

The government has set a target of establishing 20,000 Thong Fah discount shop all over the country within the year.

Meanwhile Commerce Minister Sonthirat Sonthi-Jirawong, in respond to fears that these welfare cards will be used to buy vice products,  assured that measures are in place to ensure that this will not happen.

All products are now required to have QR Codes, barcodes and stickers which differentiate them by 3 main types. These are basic necessity goods, educational utensils and farm factors (fertilizers, seeds etc.) More than 60 -70 categories of goods have been successfully prepared out of a target of 100 in the introduction stages of the campaign.

He said goods classified as vice products such as alcohol and cigarettes cannot be bought with welfare cards.

As a further precaution, routine checks will be made on card holders purchase records as well as shops records, he added.