POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY IN THAILAND Dr Monthip Sriratana Tabucanon Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Bangkok, Thailand
I) INTRODUCTION • The Royal Thai Government (RTG) has recognized the holistic approach to poverty reduction since 2001. The RTG has declared the poverty reduction as the National Agenda and has set the goal to combat with the poverty.
In the context of development of Thailand. The Government has identified the target groups who live in poverty. • Poverty is the multidimensional problem and there is an attempt from the Government to get out of poverty by 2008.
With that perspective, the poverty is actually considered as a structural problem which has resulted eventually and gradually from many factors over a long period of time and thus requires various measures accordingly.
II) SITUATION OF POVERTY IN THAILAND • The governments have important roles in poverty reduction, but their records are mixed with the both successes and failures. • The most successful poverty reducing policies are perhaps the implementation of sound macroeconomic policy and the promotion of efficient resource allocation.
Policies targeting the poor are often plagued with a wide range of implementation deficiencies that usually result in either the assistance leaked to the non-poor or the poor have no access to the assistance.
Table 1:Access by the Poor to Various Poverty Programs in 2002 (% of respective groups) Source: Socio-Economic Survey 2002, The National Statistics Office Note: The Vulnerable Group is defined as individuals whose household incomes were below 1.2 times of the poverty lines.
The target groups divided into three categories • The extreme or chronically poor, conceptually the poor people who are facing extreme hardship and find it more difficult than others. • The moderately poor, defined as those currently living in poverty but are capable of escaping poverty on their own if the economy is growing at its traditional rates.
For the PSA-Poverty, the government set the objective to reduce income poverty to be no more than 12 percent of population within the year 2006.
III) POVETRY REDUCTION APPROACHES AND POLICIES The government to deal with poverty problems are: 3.1 Policy directly on poverty reduction 3.2 Policy on developing the quality of both poor and society by means of securing housing of the poor 3.3 Policy on natural resource and environmental management
3.1 Policy directly on poverty reduction • Aims to implement at all levels namely individual, community and national. • At individual level, the government emphasizes particularly on expense reduction, increase generation and opportunity provision.
3.1 Policy directly on poverty reduction • At the community level, the community participation and learning process is encouraged so as to mobilize people to collaboratively solve problems and meet needs of the community.
3.1 Policy directly on poverty reduction • Financial assistance is also made available to ensure the poor have access to the fund. At the national level, an attempt is made to reform, restructure and manage land, natural resource, and environment to be supportive of the poor.
3.2 Policy on developing the quality of both poor and society by means of securing housing of the poor
3.3 Policy on natural resource and environmental management • Aims at the balance between the utilization and conservation of the natural resources and environment • should be done collaboratively by both government and private sectors.
3.3 Policy on natural resource and environmental management • The government takes the integrated approach to mobilize all relevant government agencies to concert their available resources combat to poverty at all levels. • The Area-Function-Participation (A-F-P) Approach is emphasized when implementing poverty eradication activities at the grassroots levels.
3.3 Policy on natural resource and environmental management • A village or a community or Tambon (sub-district) will be a development base for which all government agencies concerned integrated their services to help the poor to improve their conditions and from which not only the poor but other fellow men are encouraged to take part in poverty reduction activities.
IV) STRATEGIES AND ACTION PLAN • The Government uses the Household Basic Minimum Needs (BMN) data, which is collected from rural households for every year, to identify the households that have per capita income per annum is lower than the poverty line – 20,000 baht. As of April 2004, 1,388,994 households were identified to have lived under poverty line and thus became the target group.
The Government has campaigned on the social problem registration of the people who truly need assistance to register during the period of March 2004. • The poor are encouraged to register their problems across the country. The reports are produced.
The community forums, both in rural and urban communities, were conducted to verify the target groups. As a result, there are approximately 7.62 million poor registered and subsequently 7.23 million verified after 70,881 forums conducted. • As for the urban communities, 1.06 million poor registered but only 1.03 million poor verified after 11,377 forums conducted.
The finding revealed that the registered poor had the following problems. • Landless – Lack of farmland • Wanderer – Wandering homeless • Illegal Occupations • Students taking improper jobs • Deception – deceived to be poor • Indebtedness – people’s debt • Homeless – lack of housing
These problems were informed to the related government agencies for solving the problems. During the period of one year, as of April 2, 2005. There were 2,476,442 out of 12,266,459 of the registered poor from all areas and of all categories were assisted (20.19%).
4.3 Integration and mobilization of all sectors. • The government established the “Center for Fights against Poverty” in all involved government agencies and at all levels, namely national, ministerial, departmental, provincial and district. The integrated strategic development plans were encouraged at the national, provincial and Tambon levels.
The government has provided comprehensive assistance for all people at the grassroots level inclusively. The assistance is meant to support people in expense reduction, income generation and opportunity provision.
The Assistance generally includes the following: • Community Development Master Plan (process and programs) • Community and Village Fund (One million) • One Tambon One Product (OTOP) • Poverty Alleviation Project • Provincial Integrated Development Management (CEO)
The Assistance generally includes the following: • Land Reform • Savings Group for Production • People Bank • Health for All (30 Baht for all) • People Debt Management • Assets Capitalization
V) CONCLUSION • Using Community based approach, the Thai Governments has attempted to provide enabling facilities and resources to support the people in both rural and urban communities to work together to solve and meet personal and community problems and needs, respectively.
V) CONCLUSION • The people are also facilitated by both government and civic sectors to act on the matters by themselves through the community participation and learning process. Having learned by doing or action, people, the rich and non-rich alike, will eventually gain more knowledge and skill, and thus confidence, in managing their lives, as well as communities. • As such, sustainable development seems achievable in the case of Thailand.